Sanctuary for Humanity

2/20/2011—Nature Connection: Extraordinarily Beautiful

As I gazed out across the picturesque scene of my back yard from the sliding glass door, I was filled with joy—until my eyes spotted the ragged tufts of weeds that had found sanctuary in the seams of the stamped cement surrounding the pool. Instantly the joy melted into an item to add to my virtual task list. Why do the weeds bother me so? I asked myself. Because they don’t belong there an inner voice responded. So am I the only one that controls the balance and beauty of this space? Perhaps it was time to engage in a nature connection that would help me to more fully appreciate the weeds.

It took only a few minutes of gazing at this clump of weeds for me to see so many things I had never seen before. From the tangle of green emerged definition: Long slender leaves with ragged edges, a reddish spine (central vein)—which on the underside of the leaf boasted the tiniest thorn-like hairs from base to tip, and an intricate web of life sustaining veins, roadways that serviced square neighborhoods of plant tissue. Pulling back my focus to the larger picture, I was surprised to realize that these clumps of weeds looked very much like the red-green leaves of my daily salads. I wondered if they were edible—and then speculated how I would find out what they are. Would the nearby nursery think me crazy if I brought them in for identification? And wouldn’t I feel silly if the nurseryman told me they were dandelions! I should know what those look like by now, shouldn’t I? (I later determined from the Internet that these were not dandelions.)

How did this group of weeds find the nourishment they needed to survive in this small gap? I could not find the resolve to pull them out to analyze the length of their roots or the amount of organic debris that had been their haven. This salad of perseverance would survive for at least another day. When I do find the nerve to pull the greens from the seams, I will do so with much greater appreciation for their beauty and gratitude for their life lesson of perseverance. A short ritual will be created to acknowledge the joy they have given me in urging me outside for such a lovely spiritual practice.

From the personal journal of Deveron Long © 2011