What is a weed, anyway?

Published 4:26 am Wednesday, October 17, 2018

This time of year in the South is totally awesome. Sure, we have the occasional scare of a big blow, but we are accustomed to that. The cool morning air touches my skin while I sit on my porch rocker sipping that first delicious cup of coffee. Happy thoughts of all the reasons to love this life tumble through my brain, and I smile contemplating the upcoming holidays with my children and grandchildren.

Everything is relative, I know. To folks from a northern clime the cool mornings might not be much of a respite, but to natives accustomed to the blistering heat it’s time to break out our sweaters. I simply adore the deep, rich colorful fashions for fall and winter. How wonderful to venture out on a Friday night to watch our local youngsters on the gridiron and actually feel a brisk breeze!

It’s time to carve jack-o’-lanterns and find a corn maze or pumpkin patch to visit. I tell myself it’s all for my young grandson, but I know better. I love the change of seasons and all that goes with it. I’m happy for my childlike delight in simple things. Maybe it comes from growing up without much money, and working hard to accomplish goals to make my life better, but I never remember a time when I couldn’t find joy in our beautiful world.

Sometimes, I look at the news and shake my head at all the downright ugliness in our country. I could get discouraged if I stayed focused on all that is wrong, but instead I try to make certain that I’m not part of the problem. My reality is pretty simple, actually. I look at the bright side and try to spread a little sunshine as I go about my day.

In order to do this, I have to fill my heart and mind with the good stuff. That’s the only way to have a little left over to share. So I find joy in a starry night, a warm hug, and a crackling fire. I can hardly think of anything better that roasting marshmallows around a campfire. It brings back so many happy memories of my childhood as well as camping when my kids were small. All of these thoughts make my heart sing.

The array of vivid color along any country roadside begs me to stop and pick a bouquet. I have a greater appreciation for wildflowers since I took a course on using them in arrangements. Ralf Null, retired professor from Mississippi State University, and a super talented man taught a wonderful and enlightening class on the topic. He gave his students insight into the beauty of the plants that many see as weeds.

Ralf’s class helped me to understand a wonderful truth. Beauty is everywhere if we open our eyes and are unafraid to try new things. Weeds in a floral arrangement? And just who decides what is a weed?

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at lilsisjan@yahoo.com.