The first truly warm days of spring have come and the snow has finally gone, which means we can now see exactly how much junk has accumulated in our yards.
Yes, 'tis the lawn care season once again, a time when all across this great land of ours a huge armada of lawn mowers sails forth to do battle with that nefarious scourge known as grass.
Or so it would seem. The trouble is, we fertilize and water all that grass, which just encourages it to grow thicker and faster, which adds up to more mowing. It's about like funding both sides of a war, and we Americans would never do anything that foolish.
Mowing a lawn is an effort to force a tiny bit of order onto an inherently chaotic world. We all know that in the end this effort will be futile. But as with so many things in life, it's not about the destination; it's about the journey.
Most houses nowadays have a deck or maybe a porch. The funny thing is, you never see anyone enjoying said decks or porches. It's as if we built a church to worship the outside and everyone is either too busy or too apathetic to attend.
Not me. I use our deck whenever possible, soaking up the sun like a marine iguana on the rocky shore of the Galapagos Islands, my reptilian brain slowly coming to life as the warmth seeps in. If you stop and think about it, we're all solar powered; I'm simply cutting out the middleman.
And there's no better time to sit on the deck and sun yourself than right after the lawn has been mowed.
Birds love the micro-environment I have created for them. Blackbirds stroll briskly across the fresh-cut grass, exuding a sense of purpose which is remarkably similar to that of mall walkers. Robins do their two-step hip-hop, stopping now and again to "listen" for a worm. Talk about super-sensitive hearing!
Wild birds aren't the only fowl to foul my lawn; I also have eight chickens. My chickens are unique, of a species known locally as Your Stupid.
This moniker was bestowed upon them by my wife. I can't tell you how many times she has said something along the lines of, "Your stupid chickens are staring at me through the window!" or, "Your stupid chickens left a surprise for me on the sidewalk!"
I recently needed shoulder surgery and assumed I would be laid up for a while. I asked my wife if she would take care of the chickens for me.
"No problem!" she chirped cheerfully. "Where do you keep the shotgun?"
Almost nothing beats sitting on the deck and looking out across an emerald-green, freshly-manicured lawn. The birds are happily pecking through the "green chop," the sun is warm and all is right with the world. The aroma of fresh-cut grass and a feeling of accomplishment mingle in the air.
At such a times I may reward myself with a cold beer. I slurp the brew and think of a field of golden barley. A soft breeze riffles the ripe grain heads, creating a wave pattern that looks much like the swells of an ocean.
Or maybe I'll sip a single shot of bourbon. I taste the charred wood and am transported to a cool, damp oak forest that abounds with secret troves of morel mushrooms. This makes me think of fried mushrooms, forcing me to go inside to find something to eat.