I have recently come to the liberating realization that I don’t care if my lawn lives or dies. I admit I was nervous about having a lawn when we moved to the suburbs. We have two sections of lawn in the front of the house, on either side of the front walk. We have a larger lawn in the back. Way too much lawn for me. After the move, I bought a spreader to fertilize the lawn and fertilizer to go in the spreader. At first I fertilized, mowed, watered, and weeded. That lasted about three months. Before long, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to weed out and what I wanted to let be. Like clover. I kind of like clover. Then I started to kill off parts of the lawn by spreading wood chip and oak leaves here and there. I planted trees and flowers in those places. Pretty soon, I stopped raking the oak leaves that fell from the trees. I just let them eliminate the lawn where they came down. Then I stopped watering the front lawns altogether. We are entering the third year of drought here in Cali and I can’t justify keeping that lawn watered. I am cultivating a wilder look for my yard. The manicured look annoys me. Am I ruined after spending 17 years at the wild untamed ranch?
I recently saw a picture of Michele Obama digging up the South Lawn of the White House to make a veggie garden and I suddenly realized why I hate my lawn. A lawn is decadent. What purpose is there for a lawn? To play croquet? Have a tea party? Gaze at? Lawn belongs at Versailles. Lawn smacks of yearning for the aristocratic. A lawn requires gardeners. I’m with Michele (and Eleanor, who was the last First Lady to plant a veggie garden at the White House), let’s plant food. Fruit trees. Berries. Vegetables.
I don’t have the income to support a lawn. My money needs to go to my children’s college education. I can’t afford to pay for the water for this lawn in the summer. And even if I could afford to water it, I live in a drought zone where every drop of water is needed to quench the thirst of humans and animals and to water the things we can eat. We can’t eat the lawn. So I’m plotting to murder my lawn. Slowly but surely, most of it will be going back to the wild. Does anyone need a bag of lawn fertilizer?
I want to share the fun news that I took second place in the Abbey Hill Literary Challenge for the first quarter of 2009. Click here to check out Abbey Hill and click here to read my silly little story that won $200. Each quarter the folks at Abbey Hill post a writing “challenge.” The first quarter challenge provided the first sentence of a story and a theme for the story. Take a peek at the second quarter challenge and see if you have any ideas about a story – maybe you will win the next challenge.