The Joys of Oxalis

Pulling oxalis is one of life’s little abundances. Not because of anything to do with gardening, or weeding, or environmental enhancement. If one looks closely at the issue, oxalis-pulling is an exercise in existential self-care.

I know this because I pull oxalis on a continuing basis. As therapy, you understand, not as enterprise. Weeding, trimming, yard-care all smack of work. An hour or so yanking grass from between pavings and what have you got? Neatness and bursitis. Gardening, if your thumb is the color of mine, inevitably spells sudden death. Pull oxalis, though, and you are in tune with Nature, awash in golden blooms and the smell of childhood. Oxalis hardly even pulls back. It just piles up in luminous green and yellow piles, yankable by the handful, occasionally adding snaky white roots to the spidery threads that connect it to itself (and to every other living plant and flower in your garden.)

Furthermore, no matter how assiduously you apply yourself to oxalis-removal, there will always be more oxalis available when next you need relief.
I know this because I am, you could say, at one with oxalis. Partly because we live next door to the mother lode of oxalis, our neighbors not having ventured into their back yard in recent years and the lode being well enough established that it will be the next millennium before anything else grows there, and partly because oxalis and I understand each other. I understand the benefits of battle, it knows it will always win.

Underneath the dense tangles of oxalis that present themselves everywhere in our yard it is possible to find things like verbena and geraniums and pretty ground cover of yore. When this happens, it is like establishing a tiny bit of order in the world, and Lord knows we need a little order. It is also a temporary victory, something else rare and lovely. In the meantime, the green-and-gold pile grows, everything smells warm and earthy, the compost-collection people are kept busy and the upper body is exercised. Also in the meantime, one can meditate on the meaning of the universe. At the end of the day, one can sit back and admire one’s progress, secure in the knowledge that tomorrow the oxalis will be back.

The relationship between issues most often addressed in this space and the pulling of oxalis may not be immediately evident but I think it all fits. I offer these thoughts into cyberspace because the stock market and our IRAs are tanking, world peace seems unlikely and the globe is warming. With so many uncertainties surrounding us, it is a comfort to know there will always be oxalis.

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