21 April 2014
When I look at the garden bed that I’ve decided to weed, I have a moment of overwhelm. It’s too much. It’s too chaotic. I’ll never sort out the weeds from the plants I want in there. The crofton weed will be too hard to pull out. The chickweed will be too enmeshed with the bok choy and the ornamental sage. The cape gooseberry keeps getting eaten by beetles anyway so why bother? I sit on the edge of the garden, my weeding tool in my hand. The sun is warm, but not too warm. There is movement in the air, but it’s not windy. The light is clear, the sky a distant, dreamy blue. The day is filled with the jubilant crack of the whipbird and the burble of the magpie and why would I want to be inside? I’d rather be tugging at crofton weed.
Of course once I start I can’t stop. Kept going by the satisfaction of pulling out a long strand of a weedy groundcover (nameless, as I can’t identify it on any of the weed websites) complete with a number of its endless root systems, or of a particularly complex root of kikuyu, thick and white, that has infiltrated the very depths of the bed. Buoyed by looking back at clumps of black soil, dusted with mulch, around startled plants. They seem to shake themselves down and expand as they realise their freedom, released from the threat of suffocation and the enclosing gloom of overshadowing, from consumption by the caterpillars and snails that I’ve removed and squashed.
As I move down the bed my eye is caught by alien glints of gold and red foil. The children missed one of their targets in the easter egg hunt yesterday, and it hasn’t yet been found by the ants. Its garish, shiny wrapping conjures the sound of four happy children – with an average age of six – running through the garden, pouncing on eggs and rabbits. The sun was so hot in the middle of the day that we had to scatter the bounty then let the children loose immediately to avoid easter baskets full of melted chocolate. The hunt was followed by an unprompted reckoning up, where the four of them compared what they’d found and shared out the proceeds more fairly. What beautiful, shining children!