Friday, June 23, 2006

Lawn (Don't) Care

I don’t really get gardening. Faced with a choice of chores, I’ll always opt for working on a bike rather than working on the lawn.

I like being in the yard; I love having a lovely garden, but I don’t enjoy the labor needed to make it lovely. (I don’t even enjoy the labor needed to keep the dandelions and crabgrass from taking over.)

I admire folks who get out there every day with their spades and trowels; I appreciate flowering shrubs, fresh vegetables, and nicely-edged lawns sharp against the sidewalk, but it’s all I can do to mow the grass once or week or so.

I’m sure this is a moral failing on my part, but maybe I can blame it on my parents. My Dad was a city boy; his idea of lawn care was to hose down the sidewalk. My mom was semi-patrician; she gardened by letting the gardener take care of it.

Here in early summer Seattle, all the plants are thriving. They want to live! I feel bad cutting down morning glory and pulling up weeds. Couldn’t I just let the whole place go to meadow? I like blackberries anyway and I’ll bet the kid would just love having a wild little jungle to romp through, no?

What’s weird, though, is that I get sort of uncomfortable when the lawn starts going too wild. It’s like when my desk gets too messy; it starts being too close to a picture of my own wild and tangled mind. I’ve got to clean things up so I can think straight again. I’ve got to mow the lawn so I can keep my thoughts in check.

When I lived in LA some years ago, there was this guy down the street who paved his yard in concrete and spray-painted it green. I always thought that was a bit over-the-top; now I see it as a creative solution to a problem that’s all in the mind.


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