Monday, August 12, 2013

Pulling Weeds

I love pulling weeds. It's meditative, repeatedly yanking unwanted plants from the ground, the dirt falling through fingers and cramming itself underneath fingernails. It also offers a terrific and immediate sense of accomplishment. I guess it's an achievable way to wrangle nature, especially the morning after a rain. Sean thinks I'm nuts and wants no part of it, but apparently my brother Matt and his wife Laurel are my kindred spirits. Turns out I'm lucky, too, because between pregnancy, preparing for maternity leave, having a newborn, lots of rain and unseasonably high temperatures, my yard was looking like curly hair after a humid night of tossing and turning. They generously offered to help me and conquered the most difficult part of the job: the spaces between the pavers of the patio.

Laurel and Matt, crabgrass assassins.
American Gothic revisited.
My yard now feels neat and clean and well-loved. It's welcoming. Sean says it's "visually polite." Most importantly, it helps me to feel calm when I'm outside.

So, I've pulled literal weeds. Now, in the true spirit of amateur writing I'm going to force the metaphor. It's time to pull some figurative ones.

Headaches. I get some really bad ones. Not migraines, clusters. They are, in a word, horrible. Two weeks ago I started getting headaches with symptoms similar to my clusters and panic set in. I typically have to put my life on hold for three to four weeks until the headaches clear but right now I just don't have the time. Thankfully they are not clusters, just Godzilla-sized tension headaches.

The cause of tension headaches: stress. So if stress is the weed in this scenario, then stress is what I've got to pull out of my life. I know what stresses me: traffic, too much to do in too little time, toddler meltdowns, money, deadlines. The problem is, I've usually succumb to the stress before I realize it's even there. Luckily (tongue firmly planted in cheek) at the first sign of stress a shooting pain, like an ice pick plunging into my brain, warns me I need to chill out. It's like a giant hand clearing the field that is my body of all the stress weeds that threaten to take over (Oh brother. Too much?).

So what am I doing to reduce stress? Lots of things. Deep breathing. Exercise. Writing lots of lists. Doing fun things with Max. Sometimes my attempts at fun crash and burn, like the sprinkler in the backyard, or bouncing stuffed animals on a taut blanket. But one thing that always succeeds is a trip to the park which inevitably includes a rest and snack on the bench.

Strike a pose!


  1. Crabgrass assassins... haha! Love it. Love the metaphor, too.

    1. Well that darn crabgrass has a life of its own. One day the yard looks great and the next it has been overtaken. I'd love to put in a time-lapse camera to see the crabgrass in action. I bet it's creepy.

  2. Definitely take them to the park more!

    Oh, and the weeding was greatly satisfying.

  3. Spray that crabgrass while before its overtakes the paver's and maybe it will be half conquered by next summer.
    I love the pictures of Matt and Laurel and also the boys. Love the one of Max the most.