Thorns Against the Green


In a single morning, all of my environmental convictions were reaffirmed.  I am not an environmentalist.  I have a lot of reasons why this is the case.  My green beans were eaten by the rabbits I saved from destruction this past spring.  My wife has been weeding around the remainder of the green bean stems ever since the rabbits devoured them as a midnight snack.  She is still weeding now.

In another section of our garden, the tomatoes have been robbed of their needed water by unusually warm and dry temperatures.  Though they have suffered from inconsistent water, the weeds around them are growing just fine.  More than fine, in fact, the weeds are flourishing.  So well are the weeds growing that they have overtaken my purple hull peas, too.  I must thrust my fist blindly into the Mardi Gras-colored mass of green and purple foliage like a fisherman plunks down his bait into a clump of old tree tops in the hopes of pulling out a prize catch.  Such is the way I go fishing for peas amid the weeds.

Over next to the house, I have a few shrubs—you know, to bring the beauty of nature right up to the edge of my otherwise “unnatural” house.  There is a sidewalk meandering from the garage to the front door, and, no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to keep the grass from growing where the concrete walk is supposed to reign.  I use the heaviest artillery designed by the greatest minds: a weed trimmer, a grass killing chemical, a shovel, a lawn mower, and my own hands extracting the enemy by its roots.  And yet, grass grows over the sides and between the cracks of the concrete no matter how hard I try to prevent it.  And, no matter how hard I try to make it grow, grass will not grow in my yard!  I have bare spots in the yard in which grass will not grow.  I cannot stop it from growing in my sidewalk.

This is what it is like living in our present ecosystem, isn’t it?  You have had many of these same experiences.  Like me, you understand that nature is at war with you, attempting to subvert the things you plant, attempting to choke the life out of the life-giving vegetables you hope to harvest.  The reason for this frustration is simple: creation is under the curse.  “Cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.  By the sweat of your face, you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground…” (Genesis 3:17-19).

A morning of work with sweat on my brow reminds me that environmentalism is a little off base.  At least, environmentalism is off-base when it begins with the idea that nature itself is the balance, and we humans are the aliens—the intruders who threaten the delicate scales of ecological equilibrium.  Nonsense.  Creation is cursed and must be subdued.

Not only do I have weeds with which to contend, but I have a wicked prickly bush bejeweled by demonic thorns which my daughter swears contain venomous poison that the plant injects into unsuspecting passers-by.  She has been infected more than once.  I cannot corroborate her fears, having only been scratched by the darn thing, never injected with poisonous venom.  The point still stands.  The plant is against us.  It prevents us from coming near it so it can horde childhood toys, winter gloves, and a sampling of athletic essentials—golf balls, baseballs, footballs, and Frisbees.  Just after I went Tasmanian Devil on the bush with the hedge trimmer, I found the spear my son lost when he was 12.  He is now in college.  The plant works against us.

In other words, the natural planet is not the ideal planet.  Human beings are not cancerous intrusions into an otherwise pristine planet.  Human beings were created higher than the creation, not merely as a part of it.  Thus, human beings were given the command to subdue the weeds, to trim back the thorn bushes, to exercise dominion over the earth and all its other living creatures.  The planet itself has not been pristine since the Fall; it is not pristine now; and it would not be better off without humans on it.  Human beings are an improvement to planet earth and must continue subduing it and exercising dominion over it like my wife and I try to do with our little stretch of cursed ground.

One thought on “Thorns Against the Green

  1. I have long thought that just a small area of grass for kids to play on is all that is needed. The rest of the area could be landscaped into natural prarie/meadow/desert/rocks that can be pleasing to look at. In California where I grew up, if you cleared a spot…it stayed clear because southern California is desert. Here, even if you do mow, chop, weed eat, muclh, landscape fabric, and spray,,, it still grows up weeds and trees. So I decided to learn, like Paul says, to be content with what I have. My favorite morning flower is the blue chickory that only blooms in the morning. It survives all the winter road salt and chemicals that we can cover it with and each year returns to bloom with a burst of color to celebrate God’s creativity of flowers in the morning. During the civil war it’s roots were used as a substitute for coffee, and people drank chickory root coffee.
    I look forward to the day when all weeds are changed to pretty flowers and there is no dust or unwanted weeds under the streets of gold.

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