Special thanks to Yvette for providing the photos and for her patience. Yvette is in the USA and I encourage readers to visit her eclectic blog Priorhouse Blog. Tell her I sent you. Readers are welcome to use her images, but with credit to her.
I like to walk on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.
While crossing the walkway leading me to the beach, looking at the dunes, I notice the plants: some are close together while others are alone. The number of varieties seems few, but I know all are well adapted to live in the loose sand with salty air and persistent wind. I know they are not weeds, but they remind me of weeds.
Most of the time I don’t see many plants when I walk on the beach – only occasional seaweeds washed ashore either as single strands or in bunches. I chuckle knowing they are not the weeds that are in my head.
Weeds are something that doesn’t get a lot of thought. After all, they are unwanted plants. Weeds are so unwanted we whack them down, spray them for eradication, work on hands and knees to remove them from flower beds and gardens, or even hire a service to eliminate the unsightly.
To most people, weeds are undesirable wild plants growing where we don’t want them. What if we accept them? Would they still be weeds?
Weeds are plants. Just as much of a plant as roses, trees, flowers, and garden vegetables. Biologically, and just like the rest of life, weeds want to grow, survive, and reproduce to create the next generation.
I know weeds can irritate the skin, damage pavements, and disrupt water flow. But I also know they are good. Weeds attract beneficial insects. Weeds provide food to seed-eating birds. Weeds prevent or reduce erosion and moisture loss. Weeds add nitrogen to the soil and draw nutrients upward for other plants to use.
Weeds give us joy in the form of wildflowers. During walks in a forest or meadow, people do not see wildflowers for what they are – weeds? Then again, if they are not undesirable, are they weeds?
On the other hand, I doubt most people realize the magnificence of weeds. Their coarse leaves and heavy stems help make them biological marvels. Weeds compete for essentials with the desirables, and they are very good at what they do. Therefore, they might win the competition.
Weeds are hardy as they grow in conditions other plants cannot. Many weeds thrive during the hot, dry days of summer which causes other plants to wither. Oh no – not weeds – they take advantage of their opportunity to make progress for their kind!
I know weeds are awesome competitors that use their adaptations to their advantage. I know they don’t require much space to grow and will grow in difficult conditions. Their stem anchors in the soil, and then the growth spreads over other plants to out-compete the desirables for light and water. Give them an inch, and they will take a mile.
At my northern home, I know winter weeds use cold conditions as their time to thrive with less competition. That’s another brilliant adaptation for a hardy survivor and competitor. Yes, their evolutionary history has given weeds biological brilliance.
The bottom line is that weeds make the most of what they have. They can appear from a small opportunity in a thick lawn – let alone in those hard-to-grow areas like cracks in the concrete or pavement. No wonder some think of weeds as a plant in the wrong place. Just like weeds, my biology background has crept into the spaces of this walk.
Dandelions are weeds, so what is a weed to someone is beauty to others. I think of dandelions transitioning from yellow to soft, fluffy white seeds so the wind will take them to an undetermined destination. I think about how each seed is capable of producing a new dandelion with many future offsprings. I smile thinking of those white seeds blowing in the wind being related to the hopes, dreams, and wishes of the person who released them into the air. Do you remember those days as I do?
I think about how weeds relate to personal life. Everyone has a variety of weeds, thorns, and coarse stems in life – things that grow and crowd more desirable thoughts, traits, and actions. Our minds need to minimize weeds to grow and learn throughout life. I think about how biases, prejudices, and ignorance are weeds in our personal and mental gardens.
Life involves times of being deep in the weeds with troubles and problems. While some may get weeded out because they are unfit, unwanted, or unqualified, there are times when we must plow through the weeds to find a better place.
I didn’t imagine I would spend a walk thinking about weeds – let alone the time to draft, edit, and finalize a beach walk essay. Then again, why not because weeds are part of life. Maybe thinking about weeds leads us to a greater appreciation. Besides, thinking is what I do while I traverse the sand because I like walking on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.
See what other bloggers have posted about Weeds
- Weeds Un-pucked (a photo essay)
- Weed or Rose? (an essay and photos)
- I Wished on a Weed (photos and a poetic essay)
- Pulling Weeds (a poem)
- Monday Morning Blooms (photos and an essay by my guest photographer)
- Jimson Weed 2022 (photos and an essay)
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