I have found my own space to grow in this vast desert, blessed by the direct rays of the winter sun and surrounded by scrub. We crowd together and share this place but there is distance between myself and the plants that grow alongside me, for I feel they think I’ve moved into the wrong neighborhood, and do not belong among their kind. To them I am a weed. My name is Joshua Tree.
My fellow desert plants look as though they begrudge me my sharp spikes, my bright green hue and the height that I shall grow into. When I am older, I will tower above them and I will not be able to overhear their divisive chattering that comes with every breeze. But now, as I grow slowly among them, I can hear them whispering among themselves under cover of the wind. I do not complain but I feel alone and misunderstood.
I think they do not understand that for many, I am the symbol of the mysteriousness of the desert, and my towering silhouettes, when seen from the highway in groups of two or twenty or two hundred are the images that inspire exploration and appreciation of our home. I am the advertisement for the beauty of the desert. I may tower over my companions, my neighbors, but I am in solidarity with them.
As I grow, my neighbors and I continue to share the same world of desolation, sun and soil. When the wind blows they still chatter, but it has occurred to me that I may have been wrong about them. Perhaps it was I who misunderstood them instead of the other way around. It is true that I stand out among them and that I will one day be much taller. But perhaps my place in this world does not make me more important. During the long dry days of our coexistence the desert sun has shined clear light on the similarities amongst us while our differences fade into the shifting shadows. I am happy to have found my place in this community which is made stronger by our differences. Perhaps the chatter in the wind and the silence that follows is harmony, and not discord.
I shall listen grow and learn. And when the travelers see me from the highways I shall beckon them to visit me and my friends, the low lying desert plants.
Please come back tomorrow for a new “Weed Image of the Day” and let me know which ones you like.
We and our weeds are so much more than what we first appear to be.