Wildflowers and Weeds: A Sun-Addled Brain at The Green Study

canstockphoto1910165It’s gardening season which means that here at The Green Study, the metaphors for growth are in full bloom. It also means that the sun has fried my brains and I have little patience for sitting at the keyboard. Still, with gardening comes the thinking, the settling back on haunches watching fuzzy bumblebees search for the first blooms and June bugs, startled and disoriented when accidentally uncovered.

So these are some quick jots from the week, uneven and random, sort of like my lawn.

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It was a tough first week for goal-setting. Sunday was review and re-set day. I’m been feeling physically under the weather, which always makes rocking out a goal more challenging. I bombed out a bit this week, but made progress regardless – more writing done – well, that was it, really. That’s the cool thing about reaching for goals – even if you don’t 100% make the mark, you still get farther ahead. The failure becomes a smaller part of the picture, especially if you get up, brush yourself off and take another run at things.

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Every year, we deal with the lawn fetish. Our neighbors fertilize and spray to create perfect green fields. It’s all for appearance. They’re never sitting in it or playing with their kids on it. The cost of that appearance is the fertilizer and herbicide runoff entering our waterways, damaging fish life and adding to that insouciant mix of antibiotics and hair products at water plants.

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The bees have hit the mother lode.

This year, our backyard, the piece that is not yet a garden, looks like a meadow of wildflowers, with cheery yellow dandelions, delicate white violets and purple creeping charlie. A joyous complement to the white blossoms of the cherry tree and the slowly unfurling red leaves of the Canadian maple. Still, we try not to make our neighbors grumbly, so yesterday my husband tilled up a two foot DMZ along the fence line so I can put in a border garden and mulch to buffer against the spread of color to monochrome lawns.

Each year, we balance what we know against what is still one of the most common and environmentally damaging yard fads – the sea of turf grasses, synthetic chemicals, and excess water used to maintain them. While I certainly have cognitive dissonance in many areas of my life, this is not one.

A lawn is the product of aristocracy going back as far as the 16th century. Since it was before the invention of mowers, peons had to be paid to chop and trim it down, so it required money. In the Elizabethan era, having bad, blackened teeth was a status symbol, because only the wealthy could afford sweets. Maybe the wealthy shouldn’t be trusted as trendsetters.

Perhaps it’s time to look askance at lawns and the chemical companies that enrich themselves, all while poisoning our water sources. I’m happy to leave the butt implants and gold-plated anythings to the num-nuts who can afford them. But in the words of Joni Mitchell, just “Leave me the birds and the bees.”

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As to water, there is a one-in-four chance in the US that your tap water is contaminated or is not being properly monitored. But don’t worry, even if your water ends up being contaminated because the city decided to save a little dosh, you’ll still get a bill.

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It was hard watching the news this week. The smug grin of Paul Ryan should be downgraded to a solemn face of apology to the nation. He needs to go back to wanking off to Ayn Rand and get out of the business of humans. He and his backslapping cronies aren’t very good at it.

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Despite the beautiful weather, I’m crabby as hell. I had to run errands this morning and even walking through a poorly-stocked retail store gave me pause. I felt like I could hear everything – beeping, conversations, more beeping, walkie-talkies, the clickety-click of heels four aisles away, a baby fussing at the opposite end of the store. I felt irrationally angered by the modern, cold noisiness of it all. Maybe that’s what a lot of time in the garden does to me. It makes me resent the time I must spend indoors.

Time to drag my grumpy self back to writing, but soon out into my meadow of color. 2017Backyard

What’s got you happy or grumpy today?

21 Comments on “Wildflowers and Weeds: A Sun-Addled Brain at The Green Study

  1. I’m crabby too. Maybe it’s a universal malaise. I’m crabby for all kinds of reasons. Maybe I won’t bore you with it now and I’ll devote a blog post to it. Happy Monday!

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  2. What’s got me grumpy? IT’S SNOWING! That’s what. No gardening in the near future at this end of the blogging exchange.

    I agree with your line “That’s the cool thing about reaching for goals – even if you don’t 100% make the mark, you still get farther ahead.” A friend of mine has this mounted on her monitor: “Progress, not perfection.”

    So now, it’s back to the window to watch the spring birds shiver at the feeder. Enjoy your week!

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    • We had snow exactly one week ago on May 1st. But everything just kept right on growing and blooming. It’ll be there soon enough, Maggie and then we can start complaining about the heat and bugs! Have a good week as well!

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  3. When I lived in the Boston area, my lawn was meadowy like yours. Here in CA it’s mostly dead, unfortunately. But it has never been monochrome green!

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    • I’m sighing as I watch neighbors to the south and west of me do their synchronized spraying this afternoon.
      It’s sort of like when you go the speed limit and people ride your bumper. You know you’re in the right, but feel like somehow you’re doing something wrong.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I share your sentiments about Ryan and his cronies and although your suggestion is not a pretty picture it certainly would be less offensive than what they have done to America’s less fortunate (I’m referring to the those less fortunate than government’s millionaires and billionaires). On the bright side I am thrilled that France has done what America did not have the balls to do. Love you post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve been having an argument with myself about the Ryan bit. It was certainly less angry than what I initially had, but I questioned the crudity. There is an inclination, especially with our current president, for discourse to lean towards the vulgar. Not sure I should be jumping on that classless bandwagon. On the other hand, the smugness with which they passed a crude bill just to “win” was more profane than anything I could write here.

      I wish good things for France, which strikes me as more nuanced in its political thought than this country. Thanks for adding your thoughts, Larry.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Yes! I knew I liked you! I can’t stand conventional lawns. Our pastures this year are FULL of dandelions, which are the best bee food and apparently good for salad, too (I haven’t tried, but will). I just love their cheerful yellowness, and cannot understand why people don’t leave them be!

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    • Our yard is full of bees (about 4 kinds that I could spot) right now, which is making it hard for me to convince myself to mow (although the city says we must, at a certain point). We need to get a grazing animal – that would really get the neighbors’ ire up! I haven’t used dandelions, but my understanding is they’re good for a lot of things.

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  6. I grew up where lawns are watered but on a cycle the water company imposed. Right now I live where people do not water their lawn, relying on nature to do that job. Truth is, I think I like the natural look better.

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  7. I’m happy I got to share the bed with our 9-year-old Charlotte as my wife is in DC for a couple days. Not happy about that, but happy I get to lie next to that little breathing thing with little hands, still.

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    • Lovely. I still like to listen to the snuffling of a sleeping kid, but mine was a kicker from womb to now teenagehood. I got a year of sleeping with her as a baby, but after that it was all elbows and groin kicks. We get very excited about hotels with sleeper couches.

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  8. This was my second morning back in the pool at the Y. I only have enough oomph to paddle along with the aerobics class and have to take a 2 hour nap when I get home, but I know I’m helping my body finish this last (I hope) lap of recovery from the 2+ months of lung crud.

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  9. Great post, Michelle. I agree – on everything. I was equally disappointed with one of our neighbors in MD…they had a bright green lawn that nobody used or walked on – we others called it ‘nuclear grass’ that was poisoning the neighborhood.

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    • I finally mowed today and it made me sad. All the color gone (although the creeping charlie still shows a hint of purple). I re-read the city code to make sure we comply. Still, I work with an organization that is focused on preserving bee populations, so it’s good to know people care about this. Even if they’re not the ones who live next to me!

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