Realitology

“The Study of Reality”

Warning! This Blog Contains Social Commentary, Brilliant Observations, Dry Wit, and Rampant Sarcasm. Use At Your Own Risk.

 

What Makes It A Weed Anyway?
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Today I was walking along the river that runs near our house. I was watching the birds and the weeping willows sway in the wind. It was very nice. It’s late springtime and lots of wildflowers are blooming. Most look pretty delicate but I know they’re not. They can’t be and survive in our climate.There were tiny lilac flowers with dark purple veins running through them. With the sun as a backlight the little plants just glowed as if they were electrified. The darker veins stood out in stunning contrast to the delicate lilac color of the petals. There were flowers that looked like golf balls suspended at the end of a length of bamboo. When I got closer I could see that it wasn’t a single flower, but many flowers making up the globe of white. They had a subtle, sweet, earthy wildflower fragrance.

Then I walked upon a group of thistles that were just starting to bloom. Their little yellow flowers were just beginning to peek out from the thorny covering. I looked closer and saw how the needles lined the entire plant, the main stems, the smaller stems all the way up to the covering of the flower petals. I noticed how beautifully arranged the spikes were. Perfectly in line along the spines and ridges of the plant. The bulbs that contained the flowers were equally thorny and I noticed the beautiful curves that they made–sort of onion-shaped–like the top of the spires at St Basil’s Cathedral on the square in Moscow. I was thinking to myself "This is one of the most incredible plants that I’ve ever seen. I can’t believe I’ve never noticed it’s beauty and symmetry before." Maybe it was the angle of the sunlight that set if off so well.

Then I thought to myself "People consider this a weed but it’s so beautiful. What make this thistle plant "a weed" but a rose a "beautiful flower"? Why is a dandelion considered a weed–the bane of suburban lawns everywhere; and yet the yellow daisy growing in the flower bed is planted and nurtured as a thing of beauty?" It doesn’t make sense does it? It’s just an arbitrary decision that somehow someone made, and it’s apparently just accepted as "the way it is."

When I was a kid my father spent a lot of time and money to have the perfect lawn. It was dark green Kentucky bluegrass. It was soft to walk on and it didn’t hurt when you fell, but I didn’t consider it a thing of beauty like my father apparently did. In contrast, our next door neighbors didn’t do anything to their lawn. It just grew as "naturally" as a suburban lawn can. It was full of yellow dandelions and clovers with little purple flowers. It wasn’t as soft as our lawn was and you had to watch out for stepping on sticky plant and for bees that would sting your foot. I thought it was beautiful and much more interesting than our lawn, but apparently the green lawn connoisseurs like my father didn’t.

Once, I picked some dandelions from our neighbors lawn and broke the flowers apart on our yard. I wanted to have beautiful flowers in our lawn too. I thought my dad would be happy that I was taking the initiative and beautifying our lawn. I didn’t understand that he was doing his best to keep the dandelions OUT of out yard.

I guess that was my first lesson in suburban lawn planning. But still to this day when I see a huge expanse of a green lawn I just think to myself "What a waste! How boring! Wouldn’t they rather have a yard full of flowers?" But I guess they don’t. I still don’t understand why a thistle and dandelion are considered weeds but a rose, petunia, and lilly are considered beautiful. Somebody apparently made these "rules" but I sure don’t know who. The birds eat the thistle seeds and the bees pollinate the dandelions so who are we to decide what’s a weed and what’s not?

It makes me wonder how many other things I’ve labeled as bad, or ugly, or undesirable, just because somebody, somewhere made an arbitrary rule about it. It’s something to think about…

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