|Ground ivy garden|
My theory was that the repetition would burn the correct spelling into my brain. The reality was that after 10 or so tries at a word, my brain would shut off and I would be running on muscle memory. The longer I spent spelling each word over and over, the less I was able to recognize the accuracy, or inaccuracy, of my spelling.
The word, initially a challenge to pen, was worked past the place of consistency and accuracy until I came full-circle back to a new unfamiliarity with the same term.
A few weeks ago I took a good look at my backyard vegetable garden. The majority of green-age that I saw basking in the afternoon sun was nothing I had planted. It was an infiltrator; a weed known as ground ivy. The heart-shaped leaves ringed with a serrated edge looked like miniature water lilies stretching their arms over the naked ground rather than the surface of a pond. No blooms were visible, just a web of green taking advantage of the soil I disturbed for the sake of my garden.
I got down on my hands and knees to strip away this invader and take back my garden. It was not a quick task. The ground ivy was everywhere. It curled around the corn. It crept between the potatoes. It buried the beans.
I lost track of time in my garden. While I worked, the sky changed from sunny to cloudy to raining and back again. The dirt around the roots of the ground ivy loosened with the rain. But the longer I worked, the more mistakes I made. I switched off my brain and went with muscle memory. See green, grasp and pull without mercy.
I was practicing for my spelling tests all over again. The familiarity was gone and all the plants looked the same. Ground ivy is string beans is oregano.
Eventually I worked through my brainless confusion, pulled up hundreds of handfuls of ground ivy and stood back to see my garden clearly once more.