Wildflowers and Weeds: A Sun-Addled Brain at The Green Study
It’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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
What’s got you happy or grumpy today?