I was feeling anxious and teary-eyed about family stuff, so I headed out to the backyard to do some weeding. The weeds aren’t in my vegetable or flower beds, but in the lawn. Since I am an organic gardener, I do not spray or spread poison of any kind. The thought of inadvertently killing beneficial bugs and innocent birds is anathema to me!

I had noticed on my early morning perusal along the garden pathways, that a new kind of cute little weed was spreading. It had miniscule yellow flowers throughout its clover-like tiny leaves. Therefore, because I was saddened by a phone call, I decided that weed pulling was the chore for this morning!

As I sat on my garden stool, wielding my weeding tool, I discovered the myriad tiny root tentacles invading and getting tangled with the St Augustine grass runners. I bent closer on my hands and knees and excavated some more. I ended up spending 3 hours on weeding a small portion of the lawn, but felt immensely satisfied for a job well done, and the disturbing phone call faded away. On the surface, these weeds looked innocent. But under the ground, oh, the tangled web they wove!

The morning was well-spent weeding out the tenacious, invasive weeds as well as crying out my frustrations. Yes, my healing garden served me well yet again. Dirt therapy to the rescue!


What noxious weeds need tending in your life? Why not give dirt therapy a try?

It is the only time I feel I am good, rather than merely feeling good; it is the power of gardening’s reparative power. Gardening provides me with a refuge and an engagement with the world beyond myself; it also gives me confirmation of my capacity to provide care and tenderness in a less fraught context than that of family relationships.

Stuart Smith

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