I confess I woke up at 5 o’clock this morning worrying about bindweed. It was an awful moment last night when I saw it. All spring and early summer I have waged a quiet war against my bindweed foe, and was confident of winning. But then last night I looked out from an upstairs window and realised for the first time the full horror. The shoots and roots I had been patiently defeating were only the small advance guard; over the fence, high above in the hedgerows, it was amassing armies, leaves spreading to the horizon, their first grappling hooks beginning to descend. I swear someone was playing the soundtrack to the shower scene in The Shining as I looked and took it slowly in. I was outnumbered, outflanked, and doomed.
It had even come up in my mindfulness classes: someone had used gardening, and the gardener worrying about weeds but not enjoying the flowers, as a metaphor for living life in a particular way. I nodded sagely: I will enjoy my garden more, I said to myself, taking it rather literally, I will not worry so much about the weeds. But the practical problem is that a small garden in a rural village, with fertile soil and high rainfall, is under permanent assault: if you pay no attention to weeds, you will soon only have weeds to enjoy. After a few years of necessary neglect for other things, my poor garden is run amuck with weeds, and needs some stern attention.
But even I can see that waking at 5 o’clock in the morning is taking it far too far.