Outside my bedroom window, some of the weeds around the side of our house are now tall enough to bob and tilt in the wind. The flower that looks like a white daisy is Bidens. Its common names are Beggar Tick or Stickseed because it has sharp seeds that cling to clothing, fur, or feathers. From my window I can see the flowers dance and swing, teasing the butterflies to catch them. I risk passing through the clump of Poison Ivy to view the daisies closer.

What makes a plant a weed? I wonder as I admire this thriving plant that has a system for transporting its offspring to faraway lands. Some would call it invasive for these very qualities of adaptability and endurance. Thorns are considered a nuisance by humans, not a survival technique. Perhaps I take the criticisms about weeds a bit too personally. I have a rather prickly disposition at times myself, or at least so I am told. My imagination tells me that our new neighbors are less than pleased by the weeds allowed to grow wild in our yard. I simply admire the way in which they invite butterflies to my window.

What makes a weed a weed is, in my view, not the audacity it displays by growing wherever. It is not even the persistence that it displays in returning again and again after it has been pulled out by its roots. It is the value it is given by humans. A weed is simply a plant that is not wanted.

What puzzles me the most is the great lengths that humans will go to in order to control and organize the natural world. Weeding, mowing and watering grassy lawns seems a waste of energy and resources to me. Some landscape designers plan gardens so they will mimic the natural forests. It seems presumptuous to me that the natural beauty of a forest could be improved by human intervention. I have a similar reaction to the planned burning in the National Forests. If there are not enough wildfires from lightening strikes, controlled fires are set to clean out the dead wood, unhealthy trees and help other plants to germinate. In my view, this reveals a lack of faith in nature.

It reminds me of the way in which religious beliefs are ranked by some as either true or false. Recently, I have started attending a Zen Buddhist group to practice meditation and chanting. A friend of mine told me that she would be afraid to practice meditation. She had been told in church that people who meditate are members of a cult. It seems extreme to define this religious practice, which has been in existence since at least the 7th Century CE, a cult. But, by calling any religion a cult, it labels it as negative and even dangerous. Like the weeds in my yard, it is considered undesirable. Some certainly believe that cults need to be weeded out, to protect the “true believers” and save all of our souls. I wonder, is it simply a belief that is not our own?

When I take a good look at the world around me, it gives me more faith in diversity, not less.

One thought on “Bidens

  1. "When I take a good look at the world around me, it gives me more faith in diversity, not less."Yes! I agree with this assessment! And I'm always amazed when I hear about "church-going" people getting wigged out about meditation. What's prayer? Oh, well. Thanks for writing, and thanks for visiting my blog. I've got more to say! Stay tuned…


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