It is snowing this morning in Sackville, New Brunswick. It is the twenty – second day in April.
Oddly, I had targeted yard work as something that I would engage in today.
I often speculate that maintaining a yard is a form of insanity. A desire to remake nature. some sort of form of a divinity psychosis.
The most insidious form of this is to be found in lawn maintenance. Why mow lawns? Why keep them trimmed and green? Why has (seemingly) everybody bought into the idea that this is not only a necessary part of home maintenance but actually desirable?
People spend thousand of dollars on lawn care annually. Dollars that could be spent on many other things. People spend endless hours each years raking, mowing, mulching, burning, and blowing all things lawn. They build buildings to house equipment – tractors, jerry cans, blowers, whipper-snippers, and rakes, to name some.
We buy special bags to put the trimmings in. We take the trimmings to the curb each week. Or to the compost pile, which takes up space on our property.
Fertilizer is purchased and applied. Weeds (other plants we choose not to value) are pulled, poisoned, or otherwise removed. Borders are planned, shrubbery installed and maintained. Planters with a wide variety of floral arrangements are interspersed with trendy grasses we have selected for. The desireable supersedes the unwanted – the other. Plantism becomes rampant and accepted.
To allow one’s property to follow the plan of nature is to risk being seen as flirting with moral dereliction. Bylaws will be put in place and enforced to ensure conformity. Conformity to ‘lawn-ness’ in turn will further underline the righteousness of this madness. A vicious circle is born and bylaws will be enforced. The free thinker, with her or his desire to revert to the ‘wild’ shall return to the fold, or dealt with.
Punishments shall range from forced acceptance to resigned conformity to fines to social shunning.
The individual joins the herd or is rogue.
On our death beds, will we speak of a desire to take the ride -on out for “one last spin” on the verge? Will we be comforted by the feel of the warm rake handle as we move toward the light? Will we regret not taking that last trip to the garden centre to purchase one more hose or brass-nozzled sprinkler?
If I pay for my lawn to be mowed, I can expect to pay fifty dollars per week. If I did that for half a year, I would have paid thirteen hundred dollars. Ten years? Thirteen thousand. Fifty years? Sixty-five thousand.
That is seventy airline tickets to Europe.