“One man’s weed is another man’s medicine”
Once upon a time I used to work on a marijuana plantation and that statement above was literally true.
But that tale’s for another time. Today, I’m going to tell you a story today about how it’s ‘also’ literally true, within a different context.
Colloquially metaphorically, doing the weeding is ‘taking out the trash’.
Those fucking weeds that destroy our crops.
This was how I thought about the weeds before working on a farm.
Although my scientist, food forest cultivating buddy Sara Rickards once told me that weeds could be good for a thriving ecosystem - if you are to come into partnership with them.
However, I couldn’t make sense of this without my hands in the soil.
I needed to coax some weeds out and watch this occur IRL to understand.
That embodied cognition (do the thing, be the thing, share the thing) at it again.
A few things about weeding (thanks to Seb):
1) It’s not always the worst if you don’t have time to take them out. They can provide strength to our crops in times of winds to hold the soil together. They can also be helpful in heavy rains as they can protect the soil from drowning.
2) We were cleaning up some veggie beds the other day and ripping out all the weeds and then placing them to the side to be absorbed back in to support the system.
3) We were cultivating new beds for their topsoil and placing the weeds straight back on top. A week later I returned to find them having made their way back into a healthy mix.
Sure, a garden bed looks sexy without the weeds, but then laying them to rest on or beside the bed can also adds to it.
Like a garnish in the great dish of life.
Haha that’s lame.
I’m reading this magical book called ‘Braiding Sweetgrass’ and the author Robin Wall Kimmerer is a poetic maestro of metaphor. I’m taking in the nutrients of her words to grow some grammatical sweetgrass of my own.
Like our beds of weeds helping to build a new topsoil I’m not quite ready to plant just yet.
Seb says, “we’re not weeding, we’re cultivating the soil.”
An important part of soil whispering is the breath that comes with it.
“Cultivating the soil by removing weeds is a form of opening up the lungs of the earth so the plants can find coherence.” he says.
‘Magic AF’ — perhaps a new word has just emerged Magicaf.
It would sound better in Spanish though.
So perhaps it’s time to send some love to the weeds,
Listen to them, harvest them.
We harvest veggies to eat them.
But before that, we might harvest the weeds for the veggies to eat them as they return back to the soil.
Are humans weeds?
Some people will say that we are weeds to the planet and some of us being taken out and returned to the ground is a good thing.
Perhaps drastic, but not untrue.
We’re doing some good things here.
Like protecting amidst the metaphorical downpour or keeping our bio-region’s soil strong. But most of us are not. We’re draining the nutrients out of the grand veggie (mother earth).
If you’re one of the life sucking weeds, perhaps in death you’ll become useful to the ecosystem. Your body, a delicious banquet for the wormies.
I’m feeling an emergent line of order here.Theory of change or something. Maybe it won’t map onto Kenny Wilbur’s but let’s see.
From life-sucking weed to useful weed, then on to veggie all the way up to a big oak tree.
If you’re now a thriving carrot, you should thank the weeds for their guidance and nutrients, you were once one.
Perhaps weeds who seemed toxic at first, in death have shown you the way to be a thriving vegetable.
If you’re a red headed human, perhaps you’re a turbo nutrient for the universe. With a huge redheadstart on the way to becoming an Oak Tree.
Has my Theory lost credibility yet?
Let’s just land on the mecha — As you evolve to an oak tree you have a legacy and your wisdom lives on.
The question may be how do us weeds wakeup to our awesomeness.
Become a useful weed and then graduate to carrot status, then from carrot to tree?
I’d love to be a tree.
If I had to give myself a score at the moment, I’d say I’m somewhere around transitioning from useful Weed to Carrot.
When I was 15, I did dye my hair orange once trying to peroxide it blonde. I was definitely a weed back then.
I’m not sure if I’ve found this brain purge useful and apologies to any red heads who I’ve confused in all of this.
At the very least, it reminds me to continue to listen to my friends Seb and Sara. And my mentors I haven’t met yet like Robin.
And almost most importantly, listen to my friends - the weeds.
Whoops! done it again — sorry Robin ;)