HCE received a lot of high-quality submissions for The Green Issue – sadly, too many to fit inside the magazine! So we offered some writers and artists who’d sent in work the chance to be published here on the website. Keep an eye on our social media for more great work like this, now that The Green Issue print magazine has been released! (For more information or to purchase your copy, visit our shop.)
My heart isn’t in this fight.
This small perennial battle over my front driveway: contending with dandelions, ground-thistle, chickweed, grasses, invaders of human territory, objectors to bare gravel, rebels against neighbourhood standards of neatness.
Weeding’s hard work and gets my fingers scratched and grubby – but that’s not the problem. It’s a war I can never win, for weeds always return – but that shouldn’t discourage me. The job gets slower year by year as granite stone-chips accrue dust and moisture and windblown seeds – but that’s not it.
It’s my sympathy, which lies the other way. A small part of me sides with my adversaries: their determination to claim all ground, their inner certainty of right, their dogged regreening of hard stony places like the first softening of Earth’s harsh surface just before evening fell on Creation’s third long day.
I will negotiate, as other life does, balancing needs and conditions, remembering but changing direction. A tiny, ground-hugging, fat-leaved herbaceous thing creeps through the gravel as I repeatedly tear up taller weeds. I am the selective force, and the ground under contention evolves towards a tamed green place, tidier than wilderness but never entirely my own.
All I need now is a slogan – a little plastic sign justifying my defeat in the eyes of the world and restyling it as a victory like the insuppressible green things invading my patch. I’m thinking something like “This Isn’t an Untidy Driveway: It’s a Carbon Offset”.
Fiona M Jones is a creative writer living in Scotland. She has been a regular contributor to Folded Word and Mum Life Stories, and has short fiction on Longshot Island, Silver Pen and a number of other venues. Fiona’s published work is visible through @FiiJ20 on Facebook, Twitter and Thinkerbeat.