Over the weekend, I weeded the driveway and most of the garden. It was hard work and in the process, I destroyed a few ecosystems. (Sorry, ant village.) But it felt good to get rid of the stuff that had grown between the cracks and had started to make our driveway look like an abandoned lot. Though I try my best not to equate possessions with status, I do sometimes equate upkeep with well-being. A while back, some friends of ours weren’t doing well and we went to visit. Their furniture looked especially worn. There were a few more dishes langushing in the sink. There was likely a very practical explanation for this, but I took it as more evidence of their problematic relationship.
I have always been a fairly messy person, but have always strived to be neater. I’ve known that my messiness is not a sign of some inner turmoil, but more a factor of my prioritizing other things. In truth, I suppose, I should assume that a dishelveled house and yard might mean that the people inside are so happy and busy doing things with each other that they haven’t time to tend to the chores of life. But I don’t, simply because I know when I’m actually feeling happy, chores don’t feel like chores. When life is going along swimmingly, you almost want to do the dishes and polish the furniture, both because you are happy to do so and because you want people to see how well things are going.
I’ve been looking at the weeds along the side of the driveway and in the garden for a few weeks now. Every time I saw them, I felt a sense of resignation, a sense that I was giving up. What did it matter if there were weeds and if the flowers died when that’s how I felt inside anyway? But at the same time, I really wanted to pull them. I hadn’t really given up. I just felt that somehow the effort might not be worth it. They’d grow back anyway. And what if I didn’t feel any better afterwards? Mr. Geeky said, “The roots aren’t very deep; it won’t be hard to pull them.” He was right and wrong. Some of the roots were indeed deep and the weeds difficult to pull, but a lot of them came out easy in large chunks and soon I had a nice clean driveway. And I did feel better.