Gardening has never come naturally to me, yet its peaceful nature and fascination complexity draws me to it. Many people associate gardening with ‘the beginning of life’; growing a living organism requires a delicate balance of care. However, gardening with my family this past weekend made me alter my perspective of the task.

My job was quite simple: to weed the lawn. Getting rid of the bright yellow dandelions that spotted the green grass was quite easy, and I seemed to be getting the hang of it. This is when my sister came and pointed out to me that, there were in fact weeds that I hadn’t picked out. But these weeds were different; they did not have a bright yellow flower as an indication, but were still weeds. If she had not pointed this out, I would have been obliviously thinking that I had rid our lawn of the problem.

As I continued, I realized how easy it became for me to not look for these smaller weeds. They were harder to find and if I had no conscious knowledge of the weed itself, I would not be bothered. Thus, I realized that gardening and life have one thing in common; the problem can always be avoided.

After I took out all of the weeds, it was time to gather the roots into a bag for disposal. When I looked closely at what I had pulled out of the ground, it was captivating to the complex structure that this organism had built underground, away from vision, to keep itself alive. Evolution had aided in its structure, dandelions are genetically defined to have thick taproot structures to hold them in place. I wondered how long it would have taken for the flower to grow these roots, and thought about how easy it was for me to pull it out of the ground. It had taken me less than a minute to destroy the lifeline of an organism, and those who depended on it. Thus, I realized that gardening and life have another thing in common; living structures are everywhere, but in this world power seems to define the type of life we lead.

Simple, yet complex

It is amazing how a trivial task, such as gardening, can cause you to think so deeply about topics that may seem so unrelated. I never would have expected to ponder on the life of a dandelion for more than a second, but curiosity can lead to amazing discoveries. Gardening helped me realize that what we live in is no ordinary global hierarchy. I normally associated our world as a global pyramid of power, with humans of influencing power standing at the top. I had never thought that I would be close to the top of this structure, but I now realize I can be. This massive global hierarchy doesn’t just include humans, but all living organisms; whether they be a tiny yellow dandelion or a 200 year old spruce tree. As living beings, we all call this Earth home and all require similar needs which this landscape provides for us. Thus, I realized that gardening and life have another thing in common; they cannot co-exist in harmony without delicate balance.

What gives humans the permission to cut down a tree? What gave me the permission to deprive an organism of what it needs to survive? Ultimately, it comes down to power. Without a voice, plants and animals are disregarded and fall to the bottom in this massive global hierarchy. But humans who have a voice, and who choose to use it, climb their way to the top. Although I am not on the top of this pyramid, and I may not yet have the platform and power that others do, I have a voice. I have opinions, and I have ideas. My first idea? Let’s all make more time for some gardening this weekend.

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