Roundup: an indicator of my connection to nature
There was a time when I used Roundup. I sprayed it in my landscaping to kill all the weeds. I sprayed it in my pumpkin patch. I sprayed it on the thistles growing in the pasture. I sprayed it along the fence-lines surrounding my 10 acres of pasture. I used Roundup because I believed, “If it’s readily available and widely used throughout conventional agriculture and the common household, then it must be fine.”
However, each time I used it, I felt poisoned. I would shower and wash my clothes immediately afterwards. I remember having mini panic attacks after exposure to the chemicals, where I would worry about what the chemicals were doing to my body. Of coarse, if you read the Roundup label, it states that it is safe for human and animal exposure. I have a friend in the conventional agriculture industry who even considers Roundup safe enough to drink. Regardless of these statements of safety, I still felt uneasy about using it. It didn’t feel right.
After many years of using Roundup and other pesticides, I reached the point where I couldn’t use them anymore. It’s not that one day I decided to kick my chemical habit. What happened was that, over time, I re-connected myself to nature. I became aware of the fact that all living organisms–all of nature–are connected. I began to appreciate the purpose behind every component of nature, and the fact that every living organism has purpose–even weeds. I even began to see what I once labeled as a “weed” as something else. Just yesterday, I was pulling undesired plant species (aka “weeds”) from my flower bed and purposefully left the clover that had established where I hadn’t planted it. Not only is clover beautiful, but it serves a great purpose for the other plants around it, as it takes nitrogen from the air and deposits it within its root nodules in the soil.
I may not be as thrilled about other species of weeds, like thistle, but I do have great respect for their ability to establish and thrive in a pasture. Some thistles are so resilient that they will actually grow horizontally along the ground to escape the threat of the mower. I’ve replaced my chemical control of these undesirables with mechanical control. I have found that digging them out with a shovel is the most effective method of control, and the best option for the entire ecosystem.
It’s not really about the Roundup. The real issue lies within the reason the chemicals are desired and used. Years ago, I would use Weed & Feed on my lawn because, God forbid, someone would see that we had clovers and dandelions in our yard. I degraded the soil and its microbes with this poison because my lawn didn’t fit the definition of what society believes a lawn should look like…because I cared what someone else thought of my lawn. I used Roundup on my ranch because I saw weeds as the enemy that must be destroyed, and I didn’t see the whole picture of Mother Nature’s perfect web of life. I followed the guidance of people outside of myself (who deemed the chemicals safe for the environment) instead of following my own internal guidance, which was alerting me that these chemicals are unhealthy. My body was reacting to the use of these chemicals as a way of guiding me towards my own truth. Nature was guiding me. Nature was leading me back home.