I have been taking time off weeding each day to read The Essays of E.B. White. I have read that book many times but White can still make me laugh harder than any other writer, even David Sedaris. Consider this excerpt from the chapter, “Coon Tree,” about a mother raccoon and her kittens, who live in a hole in a tree just outside his second floor bedroom window:
If the kittens are young and quiet,…she finishes her bath without delay and begins her downward journey. If the kittens are restless, she may return and give them another feeding. If they are well grown and anxious to escape, she hangs around the opening in an agony of indecision. When a small head appears in the opening, she seizes it in her jaws and rams it back inside. Finally, like a mother with no baby-sitter and a firm date at the theater, she takes her leave, regretfully, hesitantly.
Last week, while stabbing and yanking weeds, I thought that maybe I could write this blog about weeding in the manner of E. B. White–why not aim high? Perhaps I could make the plucking and digging hundreds of weeds out of our driveway amusing somehow. Maybe if I could get past the heat, humidity and biting insects, I could write something clever. But weeding a long driveway in a New England summer is a thoroughly unpleasant task. It’s like painting the Golden Gate Bridge– a process that never ends. By the time I get to the end of the driveway, the beginning is weedy again.
Maybe weeding is better described through poetry:
Ragweed, Knotweed, Purslane, Plantain–
Don’t forget the Poison Ivy.
Prostrate Spurge and Hairy Crabgrass
Silly names but kind of jivey
Don’t forget the sexist labels:
Creeping Veronica—is she really?
Chickweed patches—don’t be silly.
Wipe that smile right off your face
‘cause you admire Queen Anne’s Lace.
This is the best I could do, given the sunstroke and all that….
Have a good week!