It’s a losing battle.

The weeds are fierce. They form armies with seed-spewing weapons and build acres of sub-turf root networks. They are nonplussed by natures daggers of frosts, freezes, floods, and droughts.

But I fight the battle against weeds, against all odds.

I try loving them, and some I let live. I make lotion with dandelions, and the soft pink clover plants live in pots alongside the spider plant. But I can’t love the greedy, violent weeds that choke out beloved vegetable, flower, and fruit.

My biggest nemesis is the Virginia Creeper. This year I’m taking a new tactic against the Creeper.

“Every day!” I told my partner. “We”—Yes, “we” when he blinked in disbelief—”will spend at least one minute of every day pulling the wicked weed from the ground. We’ll yank against at least ten roots a day.”

My daily haul from the battlefield is typically over fifty. I count them and, with each number, I whisper a swear word.

Even as I pile the slain weeds on my fire pit, I know we’ll lose. New Creepers will emerge the next morning.

How did I convince my partner—who is not a fan of losing and only mildly interested in the outdoors—to join me in this battle?


When mom declined, one of the first telltale signs was the sudden population burst of weeds.

Weeds took over the walkways, the flower beds, the garden, and the fence rows.

Mom was one person, but she managed several acres of lawn and weeds, not with chemicals and crews, not with wizardry or magic. That one tiny woman managed because she showed up every day. She knew she was fighting a losing battle but day in and day out she showed up for the fight, pulling weeds from between pavers and flowers, from rows in the garden and along the fence.

“At least one minute, at least ten weeds, every day.”

That is my mission.

Virginia Creeper / Grim Reaper

Dogged determination. Constant distractor from the life you’re making. Always returning to nip at the heels of your mind just when you thought you were focused on the flower.

And it’s a losing battle because the Creeper/Reaper will eventually have its way with you.

But for now, I’ll go through my litany of swear words, pulling the weeds from the earth and my mind, one at a time for, focusing on figs and family, flowers and friendships, and remembering mom’s magic of quiet persistence.

©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2023