Sunday, May 2, 2010

weed or not a weed ~ that is the question

Springtime... ahhhhh... pips popping... tulips bursting... brushes with colors of fancy. Love the freshness of Spring!
But with all the newness comes a resergence of WEEDS! And I find myself ever year with the same dilemna "weed or not a weed?" "Did I plant this?"  If you saw my haphazard gardens you would understand why. Everything is a bit messy, no symmetry, random flower here and there - a little crocus that got accidentally buried by a rock. And I like it that way! I like the surprise of a single Iceland Poppy hidden behind the forsynthia bush in a somewhat neglected garden in back. (I wish my daughter hadn't picked it, but that's another story ;)
But back to the weeds. I know the true weeds - sticker bushes with thistles and tap roots, crab grass, clover. Hey, I've even neglected them so long they were beautiful. But a few years ago in a desperte search for quick color in a garden I dug out late in the season. I scattered wild flower seeds. A bunch of them. And since then, I question everything I pull out in that area. But I left a few this year, that looked promising, wondering weed? not weed? I'll let them grow, possibly flower, then I'll decide.
Last year I had a few such suspects, they grew fearlessly and their flowers were lovely - bunches of muted purple flowers on a tall sturdy stalk. I asked my neighbor if she knew what they were, being brought up in Nebraska she identified them right away. "yeah, that's milkweed" - after she said it I kinda remembered milkweed but I said "really? but it's so pretty" - she said, I guess? but if you don't want the whole garden to be overtaken next year, pull it. I pulled them thinking "wow, how was I fooled, how did I let them get so tall?"
So while I was weeding (or selectively non-weeding) this year, I thought how weeding relates to design and art. And I guess I have this dilema in the studio and office sometimes too. I know the true big ugly ideas(weeds) that pop up in my head, but have to let them out - so they don't get too far and squelch a good idea that might reveal itself. It's the one's that have potential, that are a bit less nasty, that I seem to have a hard time weeding. It's like my garden, if I don't give it a chance, I will never know. But on the other hand, they soak up my time and energy, just to be pulled? you see, dilema. So I have a few weeds in my garden right now. I actually thinned and spaced them out! So they'll grow better. And I'll nuture them, let them grow - but I'll have to know when to pull them when there true nature is revealed. I have to be more diligent on my pulling. It's with this editing that encapsulates the art.
I have learned that if you don't let the ugly out, you won't know the beautiful.
And sometimes it's from the most unsuspecting seedling, that become the brightest petals. But not everything is a flower. And sometimes, even if it is not a weed, if you didn't intentionally plant it - it's most likely a weed.
Happy Spring, happy planting (generating), sowing (creating) and pulling (editing).

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