How did we ever get to the point of deciding which plants would be called weeds?
Was it all a matter of utility? Did something get in our way one day…and suddenly, for the rest of time, it was to be called a weed? Was it a weed because we couldn’t see any use for it?
How does something cross over into the “invasive” category?
How, how, how, and why.
There are a lot of questions that could be asked about weeds…but we’re too busy trying to keep the weeds out of a garden that we’ve visualized as being “weed free” to ask them.
We might marvel at the beauty of a bunch of dandelion seeds in flight. It is fun to blow on a dandelion at the end of its lifecycle…to see the seeds scatter to the wind is a real simple pleasure.
But we’re still tempted to get the herbicide out to kill the dandelions in our lawn before the whole thing is “infected” with little yellow flowers.
We ask, “What’s that plant?!” when we see something beautiful but unfamiliar…and then our attitude about it changes when the answer is “Oh…that’s just a weed“.
When we see a person who is living a different sort of lifestyle…maybe some kind of nomadic or gypsy, some free spirit who skips through life without any apparent cares or attachments…and we look at them and think, “hmmm….look at that! They look really happy! Look how much they seem to enjoy life!” .. there is always going to be someone who says, “yeah…but they don’t have health insurance…they don’t have an IRA…they probably don’t even have a social security number. What good are they to society?”
In some of our minds, we’ve already decided that they’re just another weed.
They don’t fit in our picture of what a garden should be.
Maybe, when all is said and done, a weed is whatever doesn’t fit in our “gardens”.
I know a lot of people without any room for a business suit in their lives…and others who couldn’t see a place for a faded pair of overalls in their closet.
Everyone has a different idea about what’s right for them. We all wear a different costume to make it through the day.
But it doesn’t stop with our questioning different choices of clothing. A lot of times we decide that we don’t have any room in our lives for the person inside the clothing .
If it looks like a weed to us, then it must be a weed.
We humans are a funny part of the animal family.
For one thing, we’d probably dispute that we’re even a part of the “animal family”.
“ I’m no animal! I’M A MAN!” we think…but really, we’re just sniffing around each others rear ends like any other member of the family.
Except the things that we’re looking for… like status and social position, business success, material possessions, etc. …aren’t as easy to sniff out as some of the more obvious residue that the other animals are dealing with.
I guess I still haven’t answered my original question.
What’s a weed?
I suppose that it’s anything that I say it is….no matter how beautiful it looks at first glance.
image from here.