Or how I learned to stop worrying and love the Weeds.
“Out of the universal substance, as out of wax, nature fashions a colt, then breaks him up and uses the material to form a tree, and after that a man”
— Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
I stick my hand deep into the clay, like the dirt it has grown so accustomed to and grab the stem, give it a little twist and tug deep. I hear a snap. The weed broke into two, instead of coming out clean. I exhale sharply, and divert my attention to the zip zap black streak beyond water. Thousands of ants form an arrow on a house as I pluck weeds. I try to follow the line to see where they come from, or where they are going but they are endless in number. With a bend at the knees and a focus of the eyes, I realize they are headed in two streams of opposite directions. An ant highway.
I return to the snapped root. Can’t leave anything to grow back, I thought to myself. If you don’t pull a weed clean from the dirt, you have to dig quite deep to be able to find a place that you can grasp and pull from, which is what makes weeding so fucking frustrating. I can almost hear my sweat boil on my sizzling skin from the Cretan sun. Dehydration appears to be settling in, for when I crouch I go dizzy. One last weed, I tell myself. Out it comes and into the bag, which to my relief is now full.
Maggie composts her weeds, which means lifting this (not very light/extremely pokey) bag up the hill and onto the compost pile where it is dumped. There, it is consumed by worms and shit out to make the milk of the mother. It then becomes a fertilizer full of nutrients the herbs need that the weeds so selfishly stole. To be liberated by the digestive tracts of slimy creatures so universally abhorred because they remind of our mortality. Always a pleasant thought, mortality. A deft flip, satisfying whoosh, and now the bag is limp in my hands. My vision is quite blurry and the now familiar lightheadedness takes over. The ground rises to meet me and the blur on the periphery of my eyes bleeds to cover my entire sight until forms don’t exist only textures and colors and my thoughts.
I am a weed, the cliché thought comes to me. I am just one incarnation of some organic material, that will break down and fertilize some plants at a later point in my life. It’s shocking to me, absolutely me, absolutely beautiful and proof of some higher order that organized into the fabrics of life are death and decomposition which allows me to become a fig tree that my son can eat and I am having visions of what will happen to my atoms and the fig that my son eats is digested and the nutrients are used to repair a blister on his little toe, and there I stay until my son goes swimming and loses some skin off his toe toe a rock and a fish eats me and so forth I continue my life in rotless, bodyless, impermanence as I have from the beginning.