Slice of Life

Things are dry in our neck of the woods. The only good thing about the drought is that I have only had to mow the lawn four times. Most years I?d be pulling that cord for at least the 17th time by now. We don?t have a nice lawn, but we have a lot of it.

A case of quantity over quality. In early June our lawn is splashed with yellow dandelion heads. By late June the dandelions, having successfully ducked under the lawn mower blades to escape decapitation, have gone to seed and our lawn looks like it?s covered with fluffy golf balls on a stick. Or dandelion seed heads, depending on how you think.

By the end of June, the dandelions are finished and before you can shout, ?Green lawn!? the clover is coming into its own. The yellow splash is replaced with a sea of white, fringed with pink. It?s not until late July that the lawn finally looks like it?s supposed to look. Smooth and green.

Lawns are crazy things. What sort of madman first put them in vogue? He?s probably long gone, but I suspect he had some explaining to do when he showed up at the Pearly Gates. Consider the following skit between God and St. Francis, written by that amazing talent, Unknown.

GOD: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What?s going on down there? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistles and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar blossoms attracts butterflies, honeybees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colours by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles.

St. FRANCIS: It?s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers ?weeds? and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

GOD: Grass? But, it?s so boring. It?s not colourful. It doesn?t attract butterflies, birds and bees; only grubs and sod worms. It?s sensitive to temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. Every time it starts to grow, they cut it back.

GOD: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?

ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

ST. FRANCIS: No, Sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

GOD: Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow.

And, when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

ST. FRANCIS: Yes, Sir.

GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

ST. FRANCIS: Actually, when the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

GOD: Enough! I don?t want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you?re in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

ST. CATHERINE: Dumb and Dumber, Lord. It?s a real stupid movie about.

GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.