Weeding as a sport

If you have read my book ‘Octopus on a Treadmill’ ( I thought I would get that in and out of the way so that I can get on with this blog), you will know that I am not big on exercise. I went for years doing the absolute minimum I could get away with. Now I know better and realise that it is not optional, and the quality of my health depends on it, I have built it into my life. I am what you would call, a functional exerciser. Enter weeding.

I took up gardening last year and I haven’t looked back since. I still don’t quite know what I am doing out there and goodness knows I have taken out many plants thinking they were weeds and vice versa. Most people weed when they are gardening, I weed when I am exercising, the gardening is just the by product. The squats and the bending at awkward angles to try and avoid the headlock with the shrubs while balancing on a gardening fork will rival any complicated yoga posture. You also get to process your aggression or any pent-up emotions as you can bash away at the earth in the name of weeding. It is frankly, quite cathartic. There is also something quite primeval about being outside and having your hands in the dirt, it is grounding.  When I am stressed out, 30 minutes of weeding sorts me right out. Running does the same for me but I find it easier to weed than to run. With running you just get fit while with weeding you end up fit and with a nice garden. Two for the price of one.

I also get all philosophical when I am weeding. Yesterday while weeding my herb garden, I noticed that my mint plant that I had given up for dead, changed its mind about dying and decided to continue living. For those of you that don’t know about mint, it tends to take over everything. It practically grows like a weed and you must keep trimming it back. My plant got out of control last year so in an effort to curb its enthusiasm, I uprooted it, cut it back drastically and put the roots back into a plastic plant pot and replanted it complete with plastic pot. This is a trick used to keep the roots constrained and to keep it from taking over the rest of the plants.

Unfortunately, my mint plant didn’t like this treatment that much and decided to die. It could also be the time of year that I decided to constrain it. Anyway, I left it alone in the winter and yesterday when I started my weeding for the first time this year (I have been told I have left it too late to start my weeding, but we all know I am still a novice at this gardening lark) I noticed that the mint had sprout new leaves after all, and decided to regrow. So where is the philosophy in this you may ask? Well, sometimes life decides that we are growing too big for our boots and cuts us right back and puts us in a plastic pot! The question is what do we do when that happens? We can die, or we can lick our wounds in the winter, take time out to regroup and start springing out again. We might come back a slightly different shaped mint, but will that be such a bad thing if it means we come back a better person who is more sensitive to other’s needs and gets on better with their neighbours and no one has to cut us back drastically from time to time?

There was another herb which has lost its label, so I am not quite sure what it is. I will have to get my friend who gave it to me as present to tell me what it is again and what the hell I am supposed to use it for. But anyway, while weeding again yesterday, I noticed it had got so intermingled with weeds that it was hard to tell what the weed was and what was in fact the herb. To the untrained eye like mine, it was all weed until I got closer and noticed the subtle difference in the foliage. When I had established that I was looking at the right roots I was eventually able to uproot the weed part and free the herb from its oppression. Let’s get philosophical again. Sometimes we get overtaken by events in our everyday life and we feel that we are a weed. We forget what an awesome kick ass person we are. We allow our problems to define us and we start acting like a weed. If you are going through something right now that is making you act like a weed and you have forgotten who you truly are, I want you to stop and tell yourself that you are not a weed. Not only are you not a weed, you also have the power to disentangle yourself from the weed, uproot all weed like behaviour and behave like the shiny divine being that you are. All this from a weed? Yep, I told you I get philosophical when I am weeding.

Normally after thirty minutes of weeding you will know all about it in your thighs. After weeding for about an hour yesterday, I woke up this morning feeling all achy in that ‘I have exercised hard’ kind of way. Those are the kind of aches one wants, rather than just to wake up feeling achy for no reason. Obviously to those of you gym heads who go out to the gym 5 times a week, this does not apply to you. I am just talking to those of us who think exercise is something performed by aliens when they want to enter our orbit. Those people are who I am trying to encourage to build exercise into their life.

Yesterday was the London Marathon, they had forty-one thousand starters, isn’t that amazing! It is the beginning of the spring, we are all energised and are signing up for all sorts of sporting events left right and centre. This is great. Spring is the time of year for new beginnings, new ideas and fresh hope. I love watching the London Marathon on TV just to listen to people’s stories as to why they did it. I personally am nowhere near running a marathon yet as I haven’t come up with a functional way of running it. I also think my dogs are going to complain if they have to run for that long. Plus, we suspect one of them has arthritis so I don’t think it is fair really to drag him along as it is not his fault that I only run with a dog at my heel.

Anyway, whatever exercise means for you, so long as you are out there doing something, be it in the gym, in the garden or hanging from chandelier, so long as you are exercising, good on you.