Michaelangelo was known to have said,
“In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”
Today whilst weeding the veggie patch I had a Michaelangelo moment.
While a sculptor chips away the unwanted part of the stone block to reveal the figure beneath, I realised that removing weeds in a veggie patch is also about removing the parts that are unhelpful, so what remains is able to thrive into something…beautiful.
And perhaps it is the same for our true selves!
Let me explain. As I was pulling the weeds from the earth I was struck by the fact that the weeds were getting sustenance from the same fertiliser and straw that me and my lovely housemates had lain months ago. And whilst our intention was to grow veggies, inevitably it was also weeds that started to thrive on the same carefully laid mix of soil and chook poo. Free loaders!
There are clever weeds.
Yes smart weeds! They grow very close to the roots of veggies and I saw them hiding under lettuce leaves and getting intimately close to our radishes. In many cases it was difficult to tell the difference between the weed and veggie – okay it’s been very cold dark winter so there were a lot of overgrown weeds. I’m also a city kind of guy (steak comes from the supermarket right?). But you get the drift.
So it was my job this morning, instead of the sculptor revealing the true beauty of the stone, to reveal the ‘true’ beauty of the veggie patch underneath. Quite a challenge but I appreciated the time for brief reflection during this madly busy time of my life.
Every time I ripped a weed out by the roots it was like redirecting some kind of energy from the soil back to the veggie; I could almost hear an audible veggie sigh of relief! (Hmm I wonder what sound they make when we eat them!)
So to bring it back to me, because it’s all about me :), if I am like a veggie patch, what weeds am I pulling out? What parts of me do I need to remove, which are sapping my energy and could be better redirected to more healthy parts of me that I need to grow? Hmmm
Some have deeper roots than others.
Being left to grow there longer it was incredibly satisfying to pull these out by the roots, but there was a different kind of joy in pulling out the smaller ones knowing that they wouldn’t have a chance to grow into bigger weeds.
But be prepared for collateral damage.
If you’re not careful it’s quite easy to unintentionally damage a veggie while weeding, especially when they’re grown close together. As I was throwing away the weeds I was also struck by the amount of nutrient rich soil still stuck to the roots of the weeds – you know it’s good for the veggie patch but surely all the poking around has got to hurt the civilians a bit.
I find it peculiar, and a little distressing that I’m not always aware of these things.
Next time I crunch into a delicious piece of lettuce or pick some parsley, perhaps I’ll remember the weeds and what’s come before. After all, when we look at a Michaelangelo sculpture we don’t often consider the bits of broken stone that must have been left lying on his studio floor.