It’s that time of year again, with nature reawakening after another long winter. The trees are sprouting, bushes budding. Soon, colors of every hue will reemerge in all their glorious splendor. The only problem is that this includes my lawn.
The thought of yard work is akin to a colonoscopy, but at least I can put off a colonoscopy. A lawn needs attention, and the signs of life are getting too unmistakable to ignore much longer. I’ve never understood people who tell me they find yard work relaxing. Despite my standing invitation for them to relax at my house anytime, I’ve had no takers yet.
I’m acutely aware of my responsibility, though, even buying weed-and-feed and other stuff—a complete four-bag treatment to last throughout the season. However, this was at least two years ago, and the bags are still somewhere in the shed. I do have a hand spreader, though, and I’ll look for it again one of these days. However, if those bags have an expiration date, I know I’m in trouble.
Since the kids are grown and gone, I’ve occasionally tried talking my wife into condo living, but it’s hopeless because she’s convinced she needs land for a garden. It doesn’t matter that the first year she planted, she got very little due to the presence of Bermuda grass, which might more accurately be called Bermuda “weed.” After it overtook everything like an octopus, causing minimal yield, the Mrs. came up with Plan B in Year 2—building wooden boxes to segregate her crops—declaring this was the Mother’s Day gift she wanted.
She first consulted a lawn and garden expert, who recommended a thick mesh beneath each box as a sure line of defense against any herbivorous incursion. So with all systems go, the kids and I chipped in to get all the wood and dirt. As she beamed with delight, we built her three mesh-bottomed boxes and filled them up. Of course, the Bermuda grass overtook each box anyway, with one even looking remarkably like a Donald Trump comb-over.
Since the lawn and garden guy is safe from malpractice litigation, my wife has gone to Plan C this year: advocating a move. There’s a hassle of another kind, but I’ll sure suck it up if it means I can finally get into that condo and find a buyer—any buyer—for my 1989 lawn mower. No, now she’s floating the idea of living in the country, with any other grass than Bermuda. She’s even talking about getting something with acreage. After she administered smelling salts, I said something like: “It’s hard enough cutting the grass we’ve got, and now you want even more land?! I thought the idea of downsizing was to simplify life, not make more work. For all the money this is costing, you might as well forget it and just go buy organic vegetables.”
Even she had to admit I had a point; meanwhile, I began working to remove the dirt from the first box, excavating down to the mesh, as the Mrs. contemplates a more viable Plan C. During one of my many breaks, I warily eyed the surrounding lawn, ruefully realizing the inevitability of my impending date with my lawn mower. That appointed day is today, and it’s my joy to report a rare Utah all-day rain. I just wonder if the lawn can wait until next Saturday.
Chuck Goldberg has a degree in journalism and a Master of Divinity in Christian education. A former newspaper reporter and magazine managing editor, he is now an ordained minister and freelance writer-editor.