on Heat

“Heat, ma’am! it was so dreadful here, that I found there was nothing left for it but to take off my flesh and sit in my bones” Sydney Smith (1771-1845), English writer and Anglican cleric

Oh my gosh it is hot. My grass is brown and crunchy, my tree leaves look like they have been singed, and my burning bushes look, well, burnt. Not to mention, I am really not looking forward to this month’s electric and water bill. Our weather has been unmerciful with these high temperatures, and our farmers are worried about their crops. When will it cool off? And when will we get some rain?

And yet, in the midst of all this dryness, weeds flourish. The only parts of my yard that are still green are where the weeds are.  My brick sidewalk out front has become a lovely green footpath. My gravel driveway is a lovely carpet of Creeping Charlie. The only places I see green is precisely where I don’t want it to be. How is it that the things we want to survive seem to be succumbing to the sun’s mighty rays and those that we buy nasty chemicals to kill seem to thrive? It is not right that my driveway looks greener than my grass, yet there it is. People and plants are wilting under this heat, yet weeds continue to grow.  It just doesn’t seem right.

There are those that are willing to sacrifice a precious resource right now, water, in order to try to beat back the brown death that has come to our lawns and garden.  My husband and I have not made that choice yet, save for a few young trees that we purchased last year. We know that we are in the middle of a drought, and don’t want the financial impact that would come with watering our lawn. We are praying that the rich Iowa soil will preserve and eventually save our greenery once the drought is over. But with each passing day I grow a bit more worried.

Until I look at the weeds, that is. Especially those that manage to grow in our driveway, instead of the black earth. They somehow manage. They are making it. They are a lovely shade of green. What is it that they have that seems to defy even a summer drought? What can they teach us that will carry us through this ghastly heat wave?  Maybe something can be learned from the weeds, like:

  1. Tenacity: never let the fact that you have been placed in a less than ideal place stop you from growing
  2. Independence: just because those around you are withering is not an excuse for you to follow suit
  3. Beauty: never let the ugliness around you prevent you from providing a respite from it to others

Ok, so I know that most of us would have probably killed these things if it wasn’t so blasted hot that we would rather stay inside than go out and spray or pull them. Weeds are usually never seen as a good thing, but instead something to be fought against. Yet, maybe we should reflect on why weeds seem to manage so well during the hard times, and what is it that allows them to flourish in the very situations where lovelier plants can’t stand up.  Is it something about them, or is it that they are merely just taking advantage of a vulnerability that only happens in times of great stress? I wonder if there is something more to even learn here?

Perhaps, but even so, I am still praying for the cool relief of rain to come now.

And stocking up on weed-killer for later.

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