Friday, August 04, 2006

When Worlds Collide

Anyone who knows me realizes that I am not a nature person. It's a defect I readily admit. I would be more appreciative of the outdoors, but so far all my hobbies and interests are effectively enjoyed indoors, not to mention the fact that I'm supposed to stay out of the sun and I'm allergic to blackfly bites.

Of course, because we are selling our house, we have to consider its outdoor appearance, and that, unfortunately, includes the presence or absence of weeds. Our driveway needed to be repaved when we moved here 10 years ago, and we never did anything because it was something we could live with, and we instead decided to invest our house upkeep money in other things that needed to be done.

So we have the usual cracks and potholes that a driveway in Maine frequently boasts. Winters can be hard on asphalt up here.

Anyway, I finally got so tired of looking at all the weeds growing through the cracks in the driveway that I decided to mount a full invasive assault on them. It was not pretty. It would have helped to have a little knowledge about weed destruction before I started. I went in with the naivete of a nature novice. In the process, I learned a few things.

  • Prepare yourself with the necessary equipment. I don't garden, so I didn't have any equipment. After first pulling up weeds with my bare hands, I finally remembered I had a pair of gardening gloves hidden in a drawer somewhere that I used last winter to help Ed bring the wood in. I wore shorts, though, and didn't have kneeling pads or knee protection, so I spent all of the time in the battle either with my back bent over or squatting. Not good. On top of that, I wore sandals. Every time I pulled up a handful of weeds, the dirt came with it, which promptly landed between my toes. Along with whatever insects had made that pile their little home.
  • Timing is everything. Score one point for me - I waited until the heat wave was over to do the dirty deed. Score one for the weeds - it had just rained and the dirt was, well, let's say "moist." I don't know the measurement equivalent for volume of dry dirt versus wet dirt, but those weeds tried to hang on to every last molecule of the messy stuff, and wherever the soil plopped, it stuck.
  • Don't look under a rock unless you are fully prepared for what you will see there. No explanation needed, but suffice it to say I won't be having spaghetti anytime soon.
  • Even "useless" things can serve a purpose. Stupid me, I thought weeds growing out of cracks in the pavement were just unsightly. Too late did I realize they had embedded themselves in the cracks because the cracks needed to be filled. After the first huge handful of weeds brought with it a barrage of dirt, I looked down and the crack suddenly looked like the Grand Canyon. Oops.
  • Know your enemy. Ed has always belittled me because I don't know a weed from a flower or a bush from a tree. Hooray - my ignorance didn't matter in this project. If it was growing in my driveway, it was going. It was that simple.
  • Don't understimate the enemy's strength. Some of the weakest-looking weeds had the longest roots. They reminded me of Matt's tooth-pulling incident. He used to multitask when he was little. He would suck his thumb, hold his blankie to his face, and try to walk down steps at the same time. One day he fell down the steps and hit his lip. The trauma killed one of his baby teeth, and the dentist said it had to be pulled. How much root could a teeny tiny baby tooth have, anyway? Turns out a BIG one. Apparently its root gets smaller and smaller as the child grows, until the root is gone, and without the root, the tooth falls out. You can never tell from appearances who or what has the greatest tenacity.
  • It will hurt you as much as it does them. After my almost-52-year-old body had endured an hour of non-stop bending and crouching and pulling, I tried to walk up the hill back to the house. I am sure the neighbors thought I had been taking drugs, as I swerved back and forth, trying to urge my leg and back muscles through one last heroic effort of exertion. I had certainly had my share of "weed," but it was the yard pest kind.
So that was my learning experience for the day. At the end of the hour, I hoisted the trash bag over my back like Santa Claus, and I paused for a moment of silence to remember the various bugs whose neighborhoods I had uprooted. My time with nature was at an end. That'll do me for a few months at least.


Tif said...

Next time, spray them with Roundup, wait a few days, then pull them up.

And wear PANTS!

RJB said...

As poor as I am, I would have paid money to see that!

Cuidado said...

That was a very funny post. You're a wonderful writer.