The weeds come in thick out at the farm, especially that relentless quack grass. It can often seem like such an uphill battle, especially when all of us live off site, many of us with kids and other jobs. Over the years I’ve learned the value in just showing up and doing what we can. All of it is better than not having tried! Having talked to other members at the Cooperative I can tell that, to varying degrees, we are all working on not allowing that inner voice, the one that says “you’ll never catch up!”, to get too much time to talk. A good practice for a bunch of dreamy amateur farmer/philosophers, don’t you think? That show-up-and-do-what-you-can thing is working, too. One of our members, Jesse, has a beautiful and hard-won market garden to serve as inspiration for us all. It took him a couple of seasons of hard work and patience to get his beds really established.
A couple of days ago Milton and I were just cleaning up from a muggy morning of weeding our collaborative veggie plot. It’s a newly established garden, and so it’s one of those jobs that can feel somewhat endless. The hope, at this stage of the game, is to calm the wild plot’s urge for life just enough to give all that squash a fighting chance. While Milton and I were loading up our tools, we were struck by the contrast of the gravel parking lot by our cars. An edge, so dry and compacted compared to the rest of the place. A veritable desert, and yet- something grows here, too. We identified two particular plants thriving here, despite getting run over daily, despite earth so dry and hard you could mistake it for solid rock.
I recognized my old friend plantain right away, but the other plant I didn’t know. I said “It looks so much like chamomile!” Milton, being a more experienced forager, told me that it was called “pineapple weed” and is the wild relative of our cultivated chamomile. I asked him if it held the same medicinal properties and he thought it did!
We took a moment to appreciate these warrior plants. It occurred to me that both of these plants have particularly calming and healing medicinal qualities. I couldn’t help but feel a wave of gratitude for this example. I notice often that healing plants tend to grow in areas that have been disturbed and traumatized. Some heal our bodies, some calm our minds, some send a deep taproot down to pull up needed minerals. I could probably do a series of posts all about these healing warrior plants (and I might just do that!), but for now, I found just the example of these two in the parking lot to stimulate a great deal of hope in me.
Reminds me of that lovely Mr. Roger’s quote: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me ‘ Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'”
So there ya go. A couple of “helpers”, doing their work on the edge, to help inspire and to remind us of our living potential, right in the rocky heart of these particular times.