It seemed like a great idea at the time. You see, I have this bindweed that continues to invade landscaping in front of my house. The struggle with clearing the weed is that it grows under white rocks used for outside ground cover. It’s hard to dig under rocks to get to the soil to rip out the vine. So I came up with, what I thought, was a brilliant plan. It had been a mild winter in Indiana. I had a couple of 25 pound bags of salt just sitting in my garage. I remembered that when I was a kid we would eliminate weeds in our stone driveway with salt. So, the answer seemed obvious: dump salt around the rocks which would filter into the soil killing the bindweed. So, I poured salt on the unwelcome growth. I watched with satisfaction as the salt began to kill the weeds within 24 hours.
All seemed well. The bindweed was dead. But then I noticed something else: dead leaves from the tree growing in the middle of those white rocks littered the area. Did I mention the tree? An ornamental cherry tree, blossoming white in the spring, provides shade for the window located just above that section of white rocks. I thought it was strange to see dead leaves from the tree; after all, it was June. Then I stepped back to notice that all the leaves on the tree were dead. I had killed the tree. In my haste to kill the weeds with salt, it didn’t even cross my mind to think that salt would also kill the tree.
We all do dumb things: I just admitted one of my latest examples of personal idiocy. As I’ve been pondering the dumb move I made with the salt, it has made me wonder about other things I wish I could do over. I wish I could do over the words I said which harmed relationships. I wish I could do over my loathing of conflict which left a problem unresolved, becoming bigger later. I wish I could do over decisions I made in the past whose consequences still haunt me today. I wish I could do over all the dumb things I’ve thought, said, or done. Sometimes the dumb things we do kill more than a tree.
Yes, I admit it; I killed a tree. I didn’t mean to, but then, I wasn’t thinking. Next time, before I do another dumb thing, I hope my conscience will remind me of the tree. I’ll be replacing the tree come fall, an easier solution than some of the other idiotic moves I’ve made. Oh, by the way, remember the bindweed I was trying to kill? The weed has returned with a vengeance. For Moody Radio, this is Dr. Mark Eckel, personally seeking truth wherever it’s found.
Mark comes from the “salt city” Syracuse, New York; however, Mark blames himself, not his hometown. Dr. Mark Eckel is V. P. of Academic Affairs and Director of Interdisciplinary Studies, Crossroads Bible College. This essay will be aired on Moody Radio in August, 2012.