Filed in Environment

Spring Weeds

Wendy Johnson

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Spring comes to the coast of California in early February, like an over-eager dinner guest arriving an hour and a half before the appointed feast. We have barely recovered from bringing in the November harvest of Baldwin apples and winter potatoes when spring touches the bleak, windswept land. With a mixture of dread and awe, I watch as the white petals of our old plum tree push against their bud casings and burst open, announcing the new season.

Underneath the plum is a thicket of spring weeds: black mustard and miner’s lettuce, chickweed and shepherd’s purse, and deep veins of stinging nettle. These weeds run in seams across the cultivated cropland of Green Gulch Farm. Every year in this season I walk the fields, waist-high in weeds. I feel the pulse of the land stirring awake underneath my feet.

In the first years of San Francisco Zen Center, Suzuki Roshi encouraged new students by saying:

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