Metro-East News

Wally Spiers: Weeds, weeds, go away and never come back

Wally Spiers
Wally Spiers

It’s the time of year when leaves begin to fall and the maple tree next door to me bestows its second gift of the year on my yard.

The maple leaves that fall are nowhere near the pain that the first gift the maple tree gives. Since I have no grass in my yard, I can just let the leaves lie where they fall among the flowers and eventually they will rot into the soil.

But in the spring the tree drops its first and most irritating gift, thousands of seeds, the distinctive ones with the tail that lets them helicopter softly to the ground.

Every year hundreds of these seeds sprout and provide me with tiny maple trees that I don’t want. They fill the spaces between the flowers, clog the gutters and, this year, even managed to sprout in my car. I’ll explain that in a minute.

The seeds in my gutter sometimes sprout, producing small trees. Usually, when my gutters are lined with little trees, I become embarrassed and climb up and clean them out. Besides, I don’t want giant trees up there. I’d think it would be hard on the gutters.

But one year I forgot about the trees and the next time I thought to look up, all the little trees had died, from lack of rain, I guess. So I figured I never need worry about them again.

Until this year, when I noticed that there was something green on the side of my gray car. I thought maybe it was a paint scrape from a parking lot encounter. But when I looked a little closer, I saw it was a maple tree growing out of the side of my car in the small gap between the front door and the fender.

I guess if I ever washed my car I would find these things sooner. As a professional procrastinator, I felt it my duty to ignore the car tree for a while. Combine that with my inability to remember things and probably a week went by.

By the time I got around to pulling the tree out, it had grown about six inches, stretching up from a dark cavity inside the fender, reaching outside for light. Apparently it got there by sliding off the windshield and heading through some kind of a drain. As a maple seed it felt obligated to clog the drain and then start growing.

I also noticed there was another tree growing out the passenger side door. How impressive is that? I am always amazed at the persistence of weeds which grow and grow in my yard even as I battle them. Weeds will sprout from the smallest nook and cranny, even from the side of trees.

I really had to admire the effort those little trees had put out. I paused to think that maybe there was something deeper at work here. Maybe it was a lesson from nature. Maybe it was telling me to persist, to give it my all no matter how high the obstacles or how difficult the challenge.

But then it occurred to me that I had just killed the trees.

So maybe the lesson was why try? No matter how hard you work at succeeding, somebody is just going to rip you out by the roots and toss you away.

That’s the trouble with exploring different points of view in a story. Or maybe it’s just my internal pessimism coming into play. I’ve never seen a half full glass.

Whatever. I’m still killing weeds.