My name means “farmer” but I bury seeds, not plant them. I do not cultivate or know fields, farms or forests. I think about vegetation, however, and study how other people think about it. I am amused and appalled by attempts to control it.

Gardens and farms are artificial, organized to look good or be easily tended and harvested. People decide what they want to grow and kill everything else. But nature gets in the way of human needs and desires. It must be selected, trained, modified or eliminated to suit our ideas and serve our purposes.

Hence the war on weeds. Any plant we do not want, no matter how beautiful, functional, or native to its location, is an enemy. We must uproot or poison the vegetation that interferes with our plans. That might make sense if these weeds were foreign and invasive, but instead we import plants we like and thus also change the plant environment. However, yesterday’s friend can become today’s foe.

We alternately praise the power of nature to do what we need it to do for us, and then condemn and fight its inherent dynamics. Plants exist because they grow and reproduce. We win our war against some of them by stopping this process. But there can be collateral damage; war is never neat. Weed-killers can kill nice plants and also harm animals like us.

How about having a ceasefire in the war on weeds, or at least fewer battles? Let some of our world grow the way it wants, not our way.

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