this has everything to do with us

striped plant, shot with Canon Xsi

The last thing I remember doing with my whole heart might have been weeding in the garden last weekend. This is the garden we have ignored for the last two years, the garden we are ashamed our neighbors have to see from their living room window.

We weeded the shit out of that garden.

We dug deep, into the roots that had created an entire universe of capillaries, that threaded their way under the cement. We found the earthworms and the rolly pollys, we discovered how deep the bamboo can go and that their roots are called rhizomes and they are near impossible to kill. We found fresh dark earth that we turned and cleared of old rusty screws and pieces of plastic, coins and seashells. We pulled and pulled until our backs hurt and the green bin was completely full.

We picked out a collection of native plants and succulents at the nursery down the street, plants that don’t need much tending but ones that caught our eye. Being new at this, were so happy when the cashier complimented us on the array of plants we chose.

And I see the parallel here.
The way that Matt and I are doing this together.
This digging, this clearing, this tending, this deciding what to plant anew, has everything to do with us.

That doing this with our whole hearts, that putting our attention on this thing we have been ignoring for so long, is as powerful as a therapy session, or a hot date or an epiphany.

That our toiling amounted to so much more than we can imagine.


  1. Posted October 21, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    LOVE the photograph of the striped plant! Not the sort of colors you would expect from something like a plant, but that just goes to show what kind of beautiful array of design and color can be found in the natural world.

    I love this concept of doing something with your whole heart – even something as mundane and back-breaking as weeding. I think I may try this the next time I have to weed! (Not necessarily something I adore, but we’ll give it a go!)

  2. elizabeth
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Andrea, as always your thoughtful posting has me thinking and seeing my own life in a new way. Thank you for sharing this…..I especially like the part about comparing the act of weeding to a hot date. Well said.

  3. Nattie
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Whew – I’m not the only one that is turned on by cleaning and creating with my lover! Love this post! Lying back in pure exhaustion, with pure glee, and it not being be/c you just had sex (or made love), is some of the best love making there is:) May your garden grow…..

  4. Susan
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    Once I get started on weeding, I cannot stop until it is all done…I feel so accomplished when all the mess is cleared.

    I love that you are doing this together.

  5. Yolanda
    Posted October 21, 2011 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Such lovely text–and subtext–here. My husband says he can’t understand why he hates doing certain tasks, and why he puts them off forever, but if I help him he feels joy and everything about it becomes easy. When he says it, I shrug. I’ve never understood it, myself. I simply want it done. But now, I’ve read this. And, I’ve had an epiphany.

  6. Posted October 22, 2011 at 12:54 am | Permalink

    ok this is beautiful. Just tweeted it. Love how focusing your attention on a project you’ve been ignoring is giving your relationship more life on other levels. I’m going through something over here as well. JUST started to talk about it with my husband last night. Maybe we need to work on a project we’ve been ignoring and see how it helps this other area?!

  7. debbie
    Posted October 22, 2011 at 1:11 am | Permalink

    so beautiful.

    you are my rachel naomi remen.

  8. Posted October 22, 2011 at 1:33 am | Permalink


    so, so, so.

  9. michelle
    Posted October 22, 2011 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    Gah! Love this!

  10. Posted October 22, 2011 at 4:25 am | Permalink

    I was at a Jane Siberry concert once where she talked about the beauty of putting your full attention on one task, giving yourself over to that thing and doing it in the most lovely way possible. When I remember to give anything this level of attention, it ripples out and everything becomes so clear and simple and so lovely and deep and meaningful. Your story remninds me of this. And makes me want to keep on cleaning the home I live in and the home of my partnership and family.

  11. Posted October 22, 2011 at 5:17 am | Permalink


  12. Crissy
    Posted October 22, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    Yes!!! Keep nurturing ourselves and each other!

  13. Posted October 23, 2011 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    Amen, sister-friend.

  14. Posted October 23, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    I know this isn’t what the post is about, but thank you for planting native plants. :) In my job we are constantly dealing with non-native invasive plants that take over wildlife habitat and provide no benefit, and try to spread the message to gardeners that natives require less water and fertilizer (given that they are adapted to the climate already) and provide benefits to wildlife. So thanks! :)

  15. Trish
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    ‘Bloom where your planted’ my friend….

    Love this quote and love to you…


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