the wild and the cultivated

the weeds are growing in the cracks of my walkway and along the edge of my house.  they pepper the lawn.  they blossom in between the garden beds.  in the driveway.  they push themselves up in between the tulips and under the thyme.  the dandelions are everywhere.  i pluck them and put them in juice.  the garlic mustard is having a love affair with the raspberries.  and the lamb’s quarters are invading my cosmos patch.  you will find chickweed and plantain and burdock and other wild things here too.

i am conflicted.  i am torn between the wild and the cultivated.  you see i grew up in a subdivision in penetanguishene.  and up until recently my parents hired the weed man.  they scraped the weeds from the cracks in their front walk with butter knifes; and edged their garden beds nicely.  the lawn was green and lush and even.  and even now without the weed man it is still is.  so when i drive into my own driveway and see all the wild things i experience an internal quiver.  a mild revolt.  a little ug.  there is part of me that would prefer a pristine clean-cut yard.  at least in the city.  i hear a small voice telling me to DO something about all these weeds.  this might be a surprise to many who know me or come to my home but i do wonder what my neighbours think.  but even still i can’t seem to manage clean-cut.  the wild things (the weeds!) love me too much.  perhaps they understand my need for them more than i do.  and i do know a little about their medicinal and culinary benefits.

i am a fair weather gardener.  two weeks ago it was sunny and 20 degrees.  i rolled up my yoga pants and played in the backyard in my bare feet.  ezra and i pulled the wild things from the garden boxes.  we filled the wheelbarrow with our composted sprout mats and filled up the boxes.  i gave ezra rides in the wheelbarrow in between filling it with dirt.  last week it snowed; and i hardly looked at the garden.

it is gorgeous outside today.  but there is still a little chill in the air.  i choose to rest briefly in the hammock and let the sun kiss me instead of pulling grass out of my flower beds.  i am choosing to write rather than plant.  maybe next week it will be warmer and i’ll finish transplanting the wild phlox and put in a couple of rows of kale.

it’s interesting, but when i’m in the forest i embrace the wildness.  the fallen leaves.  the fallen branches.  uneven edges.  life growing as it does.  life composting too.  the mushrooms, the moss.  the decay.  the erratic growth.  i feel very calm in the forest.  nothing needs to change.  nothing seems out-of-place.  everything feels perfect.

i don’t know if it would be different for me if i lived in the forest.  if i could allow most of the land to remain wild.  if i could plant some vegetables in neat tidy rows and let the rest be as it is.

i’m not sure if my garden beds will ever be perfectly edged.  nor my hair perfectly groomed.  nor my house perfectly perfect.  i think there is a wildness in me:  potent like wild plants.  deep yearnings pushing up against my upbringing.  questioning conventions.  desires stronger than my concern for what other people think.  a deep self-seeding love continues to take root.  maybe with time the wild things will overtake my fearful need for perfection and leave me strikingly real.

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10 thoughts on “the wild and the cultivated

  1. I’m with you on the Wild Side! Even my hair keeps being wild no matter what else I try to do with it.
    I’ve been taking a butter knife and digging up the backyard dandelions to eat – yummy with some salt (which my body is doing well with more of – surprisinglly). Apparently the garlic mustard can be eaten, but I haven’t tried yet. Pretty cool that your wild green girls didn’t even notice ….

  2. P.S. I just found out that clover can be used as a ground cover instead of grass. News to me. Good for the bees/butterflies and adds nitrogen to the soil.
    I love your tidy (brown and green, with bits of color) yard and garden. I can imagine looking at it from your kitchen window – it might even encourage me to do dishes more! What is it that covers the soil on your backyard plots?

    1. i love doing dishes by the window. it is a lovely view. especially the big oak tree!!! the garden beds have composted sprout mats on them (from all the sprouts i grow for juice!!!).

  3. Wow. That is a special blog post. I found you through the Waldorf Auction accidentally. We are new to the Waldorf school. Your blog captivated my interest…and I kept reading. I just copied the last paragraph of this post to be printed and posted in my home tomorrow. I have always felt this way…your words capture it exactly!!! I hope MANY people hear your words someday!!! Blessings…

    1. wow right back at ya!!! thank you so much for the lovely words! and i’m glad you found my blog. and i hope too that many people find inspiration from my blog. we will have to find each other at the waldorf school.

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