7/21/2008 17:12

Ground Ivy

I close my eyes. I see a runner of ground ivy.

Not every time, mind you. When I close my eyes, I usually see something, and I've been closing my eyes rather often recently. But ground ivy has been appearing more frequently than I would expect.

There is a bit of actual reality in ground ivy. I mean that my yard is infested with the stuff and that I have been spending considerable time in recent weeks pulling its runners out of my flowers. But am I so obsessed with the ground ivy that it fills my waking dreams? I don't think so.

Ground ivy is a rather pleasant looking vine, or would be if you could confine it to its proper place. The plant itself believes that its proper place is winding under, through, and over all other plants. The leaves are small and roundish with a nicely serrated edge; the flowers small and purple. I pull it out because it hasn't learned to share.

Early in the growing season I begin, trying to give the violets, ginger, and trilliums an advantage over the ground ivy. But you can never get it all, and weeks later I need to repeat the process. Now it is July and each week I've spent some time raking out the runners with my fingers in one part of the yard or another.

This won't be the last time, either. The weed comes back, comes back, comes back.

Well enough. It grows, I pull. When I close my eyes, I see a runner of ground ivy. A runner, loosed from its entanglement with plants and earth, solitary and pure. When pulling the ground ivy from the flowers I lift gently, breaking the bonds but not the stem, or at least not too soon. With a good motion, I raise out of the flower patch the runner, or a handful, long and perfect. I throw them on the pile to be green manure.

I, like Camus' Sysiphus, must be happy.