Yesterday morning, as “Rumpole”was leaving suburbia to go to his office downtown, he asked what my plans were for the day. I told him that the reason why last night’s spaghetti was so oddly flavoured of cilantro, and which he found so unpalatable but nevertheless ate (he made faces and didn’t manage to eat everything on his plate) was due to the fact that I hadn’t paid close enough attention when refilling the cilantro and basil jars, and put the wrong spice in the wrong bottle. He was tapping his feet, rolling his eyes as he was waiting for me to get to the point. Finally letting the penny drop, I told him that the spice jar labels needed to be corrected so that’s what I would do this day.
A while later, I took out the mislabelled jars, scrubbed off their paper labels but had difficulty removing the adhesive that had been used to stick the labels to the glass jars. As I went about this chore I tried various methods to remove the sticky stuff . It was tough going and took awhile. My thoughts, for whatever strange reason, roamed around and oddly settled onto my lifelong preoccupation with lawns. This may have had to do with the fact that while both dried chopped cilantro and basil tasted completely different they looked very much alike, but also a lot like grass clippings. Grass clippings brought to mind lawns.
Lawns are a hot topic, here in the suburbs. Sherry (the feminine half of Sharold) is pretty religious about maintaining the lawn at their place, both front and back. She monitors weed growth and grass height, does the weeding and watering, but leaves the cutting, fertilizing, aeration and pest removal to Harold. He takes the clippings to the dump after each cutting. Their lawn looks really good.
By comparison our lawn is a sorry sight. Our neighbours, kindly enough, don’t make outright comments about this, because a) we’re older, b) we obviously try to maintain at least a semblance of lawn ( we keep it cut, but never fertilize it, or aerate it, or weed it) and c) suspect we really don’t care but are too polite to ask. Sharold and others living here in suburbia affectionately call this neighbourhood “Pleasantville. They really mean this, unfortunately sometimes they take pot-shots by mentioning our weeds, the strange uneven cuts which never twice look the same. They really get worked up by all the moles living in our lawn which create little piles of earth all over it. They never actually come out and say ” mole”, but instead offer advice on how best to kill them, and have even gone so far as to gift us with mole-eradicators!!!They have never suggested that we read the definitive book on Lawns, but some provided good references in case we wish to learn all about them. “Rumpole” and I occasionally wonder what names our neighbours might call us, but don’t dwell on this too long. From time to time we admit fleeting embarrassment.
Before our move here ten years ago, we lived on acreage in the Northern bush. On our lot were trees, upright and fallen, shrubs, an interesting succession of undergrowth plant and even some pasture. We could see several different kinds of woodpeckers, owls and other birds. Occasionally on misty spring morning we might see a moose browsing in the pasture. On clear cold winter nights we’d sometimes hear wolves howling. We thought our place to be our own private Garden of Eden.
When I am woolgathering, my thoughts skip around. Once, I allowed myself to think frivolous thoughts about the Garden of Eden such as the fact there have been no clear descriptions of it. There were all kinds of flora(clover , moss and dandelions, I presume), and fauna,( moles, and even a snake!!!). No mention of lawnmowers and Mole-be-gone! I have seen artists renderings of the Garden of Eden. Adam and Eve are never shown cutting lawns or drowning moles with a garden hose . Eve is always handing Adam an apple.
I like to imagine that Sharold, like Adam and Eve, have been expelled from the Garden of Eden, as have the rest of us here in suburbia, in “Pleasantville”. We are all destined to be obsessed or pleased by, uncaring or worried about our lawns. For certain we sure have to do a lot of maintenance to keep them up and use lots of energy to do so. This seems to me to be wasted effort, with really uneven results. I wonder why we do it. Grass that grows tall, waves about in the breeze, contains plants that vary from season to season and allows moles and birds, molehills and even an odd snake might be preferable to the regimented sameness of lawns.
“Rumpole” and I really miss living in the bush. Occasionally he was known to have taken an apple from my hand. We really enjoyed our life there! It was a great place to raise a child, we like to think.