For me, the lesson to be drawn is to postpone beginning a job until I can commit to completing it. In gardening, of course, this might take some time. When I decided thirty years ago not to use herbicides it didn't strike me that the fallout might last quite this long.
On the other hand, spring weeding helps me feel less impatient with my slow and careful painting; by comparison with gardening, it is a product-oriented flight of fancy with quicksilver feedback loop! There. I feel better already.
I am also slightly comforted by the observation that lawn weeds do have tiny beautiful flowers; many belong to the mint family, with zygomorphic flowers and square stems. In a week or two the biggest plants on the property, the ancient black locust trees (who are legumes), will be covered with similarly-shaped fragrant white flowers. "Zygomorphic" is simply a faster way of saying "bilaterally symmetrical," which tells you that you can draw only one line through the flower shape to find a mirror reflection; think of snapdragons. "Actinomorphic" flowers are perfectly symmetrical In that you can cut them in half anywhere through the centre. Members of the rose family, which includes apple, peach, pear, plum and apricot trees, produce bowers of these simple round flowers.
I can never decide on a favourite flower shape or colour or perfume. My Beloved has been known to refer to me as a botanical slut and I'm no more choosy with animals or china patterns. I find even dandelions admirable in many ways. They are robust, edible and herbally useful; their French common name - pissenlit - alludes to their efficacy as a diuretic. Unfortunately, they are not only perennials but members of the compositae family. Each sunny head is made up of hundreds of individual flowers, all intent on floating to a new world, there to build a kingdom.
Trees may be my favourite plants because of their capacities for great age. While my family has been in Toronto since 1842, the white oak here which finally succumbed was at least seventy-five years older; the endangered and ancient butternut in the back garden remains a treasure celebrated by squirrels, birds and neighbours. I like to think of them as history made manifest.
In living memory, this street been defined by a its line of graceful black locust trees. As you can see from this monoprint, their search for light has rendered them dramatic and somewhat oriental. Decidedly post-mature, these wonderful creatures are battered by each storm, shrinking limb by limb, and we fear their imminent deaths.
Or ours: Several years ago Jewell and I were canoodling on the grass near the tree line. We eventually tired of pleasuring one another and wandered off, she to check her peemail and I to do something marginally more useful. There was a huge crash and the ground shook. Just where we had been lying, a branch the size of PEI had crashed, creating a crater 8" deep. Yes, I still weed near the tree line. But only on windless days.