Yesterday we began the spring yard clean-up, collecting garbage that squirrels rifled through and scattered around the lawn, and cutting through the tangle of overgrown weeds.

I swear, some of those weeds are furious and scary. They grow, well, like a weed and the analogy is perfect: quick, strong, fierce and determined.

Why is it that the plants we don’t want are so robust while the ones we yearn for are delicate and precarious?

I know, I know, it’s a metaphor. Isn’t everything in life?

But seriously. I’ve lived in this house for 10 years, and every summer a tree-like weed sprouts up from the dirt as if out of nowhere – thick in trunk, shiny and almost attractive – until we realize it’s taken over the plants that were intended for that space.

It’s so deceptive. The branches shoot out in every direction, fumbling through the lavender and the tall decorative grasses, bisecting them and frustrating their own beauty.

And then there are the weeds with thorns. Even through my winter gloves, even amid my careful effort, I got stung. It happens. It’s inevitable.

Today, the sun is shining though the air is cold and the yard is still mushy from all the rain we’ve had these past weeks. It’s no wonder the start of soccer season has yet again been postponed – it would be devastating to send our kids on a muddy field for a first game of divots, slips and falls.

The yard looks so much better for our efforts yesterday. I can’t help it – the metaphor is screaming from all directions: it takes attention, sweat and patience to tend to a garden. Even if it’s not one of vegetables or spring flowers, the garden that surrounds us can only be beautiful if we put the time in.

We mustn’t run through our days, oblivious to everything growing around us, saying I’ll get to it eventually. Because when eventually happens, it’s so overgrown, we don’t even know where to begin.

That’s why I try to meditate every day. I admit, I’ve fallen off the band-wagon several times – and it is an effort and a climb to get back on, to schedule those two little oases in my day, where I tune out the world and tune in to what is really, truly important.

Ok. So I will not let this growing season get away from me because I’m so busy with things I think are important. I will carve out time to walk the perimeter of the yard, to pay attention to the details, to cut back what doesn’t belong and allow room for what should be there to grow to its fullest.

Besides, it’s a great way to spend a family day: out in the fresh air, enjoying the brusque coolness, allowing the children free reign to explore, to dig, to discover, to be.

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