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The Unwritten Rules of Lawn Care
I have a question. Well, a lot of questions, actually, but today I’m only concerned with one.
Where is it written that our houses are supposed to be surrounded by nice, neat patches of grass, mowed to a short, even height and trimmed all around the edges so that every blade is in place?
For that matter, where is it written that we’re supposed to have grass to begin with? Who made this rule? Was anybody else consulted or was it one of those unilateral deals? Was there a vote? Why didn’t I get a ballot? Is this fair?
Oops. I guess that’s more than one question after all. Sorry. At least they’re all in the same subject area.
Maybe you can tell I’m not exactly wild about mowing the lawn these days.
For one thing, I’m having to do it about every three days. I’m not sure what’s going on here, but the slightest bit of rain makes my lawn shoot up like bamboo. It even grows faster when there’s only a chance of rain. In Kansas City.
It’s ridiculous. I mow the lawn on Saturday. On Sunday the dog drops her chewie in the yard. By Tuesday she’s out there sniffing and whining because she can’t find it in the forest of fescue.
(Actually, I’m being generous when I refer to my lawn as fescue. I’m sure there’s some fescue growing out there somewhere, as well as some bluegrass, but it’s in the minority. Mostly my lawn is a crabgrass-chickweed mix, with a sprinkling of wild oat here and there, a smattering of weeds I can’t identify, and a lovely scattering of dandelion for contrast.)
Mowing makes a homeowner a Sisyphus, except that he’s not rolling a rock now, he’s pushing a Lawn-Boy – with the full knowledge that what he does will only have to be repeated in a few days. And yet he does it over and over and over. That, my friends, is close to the definition of insanity.
And why does he do it? Because convention says he must. Because the neighborhood demands it. Because someone, somewhere declared that grass allowed to grow naturally to its full height was unsightly, never taking into consideration my point of view, which is we’ll never know if that’s true as long as we keep cutting the stuff.
You know, it’s funny, but I just started thinking like this a few weeks ago. Last year, I loved mowing the lawn. It was comforting, in a way, to walk the laps around the yard, over and over, turning the tall grass into an even green plane.
Then again, the mower was brand new. You know how it is. You get a new mower – or, for that matter, a new vacuum– and you just go crazy with it. The lawn is neat as a pin. The carpets are immaculate. Then, after a while, the newness wears off and mowing and sweeping become again the same ho-hum they always were.
Which is where I found myself today, ho-humming around the yard with last year’s mower, asking questions for which there are no answers and wondering what would happen if I just let the lawn grow into my own personal tallgrass prairie. And then the answer came to me:
I’d go broke buying dog chewies.
© 2010 Mike Redmond. All Rights Reserved.
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