As a poet, I should probably be thinking of the spring, particularly since few springs lie ahead. Maybe re-read Leaves of Grass. Maybe think about trees–like the one I saw today. A tree-cutter hung from the side of an oak eighty feet from the ground as the branch snapped free, swung behind him to the notch where the rope was anchored, and calmly settled to the ground like a conclusion reached with finality.
Not loose yet
The arborist shins down and writes,
“Dead from the top, but you could wait a year.”
Wait for knots to loosen,
roots to lose their pulse;
witness to the latest light
braying for her brand
to wrap her spot and bum a light;
the flame past names out or in
fallible and ever malleable,
its light that salves all wounds
rising at high meridian
salvation, untiringly entire
in deep integrity a palliative fire
unfaceable, unborn, untraceable
to warm the bundled branches of our hearts
in ways surprisingly quotidien.
Wait. Wait. Wait.
** ** ** ** ** ** ** ** **
Given that you and I have little time—only a few springs left, perhaps—what about salving some wounds as we wait at the exit? Let spring guide us. As a step on my daily divine path, I walk through the neighborhood and discover that spring means it’s time for lawn treatment. This is a hard wound to heal, but let’s have a tussle on the turf.
AS SPRING APPROACHES, MAYBE WE SHOULD RE-THINK THE IDEA OF TURNING THE YARD INTO A GREEN CARPET. WHAT’S A WEED, ANYWAY? A DANDELION HAS EDIBLE GREENS AND A ROOT THAT CAN BE MADE INTO A COFFEE-LIKE BEVERAGE. CLOVER IS BEE FOOD. MILKWEEDS ARE BUTTERFLY FOOD.
BASICALLY, I GUESS THAT A WEED IS A PLANT YOU DON’T WANT. SO I’M ASKING YOU. WHY IS A CREWCUT LAWN BETTER THAN MOSS, PIPSISEWA, SORREL, HEAL-ALL, AND CAT’S EAR? DON’T YOU GET JUST THE TINIEST BIT BORED WITH ALL THAT TURF OR FESCUE? DO WE REALLY WANT TO EMULATE GOLF COURSES?
CERTAINLY A VARIETY OF GRASSES CAN BE INTERESTING—PARTICULARLY IF THEY ARE ACCOMPANIED BY NATIVE PLANTS AND MUSHROOMS THAT ACTUALLY THRIVE IN OUR PART OF THE COUNTRY WITHOUT WATERING OR OTHER EXTRAORDINARY EFFORT S, BUT WHAT ABOUT PUTTING IN A SMALL WORKING HERB, VEGETABLE, OR GARDEN, A HAZELNUT BUSH, A FIGTREE TO LOWER YOUR FOOD BILL AND WEIGHT AT THE SAME TIME? AND PLEASE CONSIDER THIS:
Commercial lawn treatments typically contain herbicides like Pre-emergents like Halts Pro (prodiamine) against grasses like crabgrass, and broadleaf weed herbicides like Defendor (Florasulam) & general weed killers like Ortho Weed-B-Gone (2,4-D MCPP Dicamba) against plants like plantain, milkweed, clover and dandelions, and treatment with fertilizers (Nitrogen 17: Phosphate 0: Potash 5) enhanced with additives like Water Smart (a Scotts formulation) to increase absorption. Quantities used for a 3000 square foot lawn would typically be in 6 gallon batches (3 gallons for Weed-B-Gone), combined and brought up to 3000 gallons of solution with water, and sprayed over the entire lawn. As the growing goes on, it is also customary for homeowners to hire yet other contractors to spray Roundup (Glyphosphate) on every pavement crack.
CAN WE THINK ABOUT THIS IN TERMS OF THE LONG TERM EFFECTS OF THESE PRACTICES ON THE HABITAT , WATER SUPPLY, AND OUR OWN HEALTH? YOUR CELLS AND THE CELLS OF PLANTS AND OTHER ANIMALS HAVE A LOT IN COMMON. WOULD IT BE A SURPRISE OR IRRATIONAL TO THINK THAT WHAT AFFECTS THE CELLS OF ANOTHER ORGANISM CAN AFFECT YOU TOO?
And what about the persistent organic pollutants? For example 2,4-D and organophosphates pass from lawn to storm drain to Jordan’s Branch to the James River and on to the Bay, continental shelf and and on to the ocean—entering thousands of lives on their way. The 2,4-D is also a persistent air pollutant in and around your home (and the homes of neighbors who don’t have commercial lawn care.) There is ample information available about the issues , as well as many good suggestions. (See, for example: http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/dark-side-lawns ). We are connected to all life by what we do and fail to do. PLEASE GIVE IT A THOUGHT.
THANKS & PEACE TO YOU. –rlr
Note, written June 30, 2018: The link to Rodale’s Organic Life no longer connects to Rodale. Instead, you’ll find yourself in the Good Housekeeping magazine. Not sure why.