Friday, May 9, 2008
Maybe the yardeners were right
Last summer, in a period of self-righteous neglect, I coined the phrase “yardener” to describe the countless folks around us who constantly comb and feed and seed their yards as if Home and Garden were scheduled for a photo shoot. I shared my new word with Todd, and we chuckled as we grilled many dinners, watched some pretty sunsets, and noticed—with some disdain—a few harmless weeds poking their ugly heads up. We smiled slyly as various lawn care companies pulled up in various small trucks and hosed our neighbors' grasses, thus eliminating any budding evil growth from the golf-green-worthy lawns (funny how those lawn care fellas always made certain to steer a wide berth around our weed-riddled field). We pulled the weeds by hand when they got too awful, and we ignored a lot of them. Our neighbors had lovely, manicured yards with carefully shorn bushes—and those yards sat, empty, because the inhabitants were so exhausted from perfecting them that they wanted nothing more than to go sit in the air conditioning and rest. Or so we smugly assumed.
This spring arrived in similar fashion. Once again, we shook our heads with know-it-all grins when the work began, watched the chemical sprays in action, observed the weeding and feeding as the "toilin' o'er the green" hit full swing. Ah, a pity that they’re so obsessed with poor little weeds. Such a shame that they can’t just roll with the punches like us. They’re slaving so hard, and for what? A beautiful spread of green that they’re too tired to enjoy. Tsk, tsk.
And then, the dandelions hit us.
Now, I never minded dandelions, not really. As a kid, I wondered why they were such a big deal. They’re pretty, right? They’re flowers too, just like any other flower. And the crayon called dandelion is actually my very favorite color. Why do people hate them so? Yeah, they get a bit ugly and leggy and they spread like crazy. But they’re not that bad, really.
YES, THEY ARE.
They are detestable and vile. They are a plague akin to those of ancient Egypt. The locusts themselves could not have revolted me any more than the sprawling, white-rooted aberrations that fill our yard. Their disgusting, octopus-like stems reach far beyond any normal plant growth range; the sight of their wormy arms groping hungrily for yet more grass-space in our nice, sunny yard (a.k.a. dandelion farm) is enough to drive me to my weed-pulling tool time after time. I crab around on the ground, trying to pry them out to the core; often I fail, but I persist. Many minutes later, with sore back and permanently clawed hand, I am surrounded by pale, dead piles of the abominations. And yet, it makes no difference. They've managed to spread even whilst I wrested them from the earth.
I haven’t made a wisecrack about the yardeners for a couple of weeks now. I think I’ll keep my mouth shut. Perhaps, just perhaps, I’ve brought this hideousness upon myself.