The mighty and tenacious Cape Cod lawn.

The mighty and tenacious Cape Cod lawn.

Summer Saturday mornings prove vexing for Ms. Cheeze. Madamoiselle Fromage likes to tour the property post petit déjeuner, and is careful to review any changes the night might have wrought: new furry neighbors in the shed, puddles on the patio, updated content in the bird feeder. On weekends, however, her peaceful constitutional is most rudely disturbed. In the balmy hours before 9 a.m., a ruckus arises from the yard next door: more piercing than the bark of a Bichon Frise, more frightening than the suction of a Dyson… the Mowing Hour has begun! Suburbanites, start your engines!

With that Ms. Cheeze is mist. Perhaps retreating to the Vacant Barn Bistro two yards down, which, in its perfect quietude, dishes out freeze-dried mice to mower-weary felines the neighborhood over.

Earlier this summer, I read a random piece in The New York Times about lawns that included a brief history of lawns in the U.S. As a militant crabgrass supporter, I curse the English for bringing their lust for lawn to the colonies. After all, grass is arduous to grow and unsustainable almost anywhere. Unlike hair, there no variety you can just mow and go.

I spy my neighbors’ lawns with a queasy sense of emerald envy. A relationship with a trophy lawn intense indeed, and not to mention pricey.  That slender bevy of blades is as needy as supermodel. I watch the good citizens of my village coddle and coo to it,  feed it, dress it and quench its thirst even on cool days. All the while their children sit at dinner tables before empty plates with violent wishes of gravel and asphalt.

Now I ask, is this a good design for living?

Tom, a covert pro-lawn supporter, likes to remind me that the lush plantings encircling our yard require as much water and maintenance as any lawn. Probably more so, and the encroaching nature of these floras make a good mow a laboriously detailed task. Perhaps, he hints, the problem is not the lawn.

Still, as I survey the simplicity of my Cape Cod Lawn (a finely-tuned recipe of crabgrass, dandelion and yucca), I can’t help but feel sorry for the lawn lunatics of my small town. Exhausting themselves weekend after the weekend, slaving, weeding and whacking when the time could be better spent digging flower beds, spending small fortunes at the nursery, or arranging for home delivery of Chick-A-Poo-Poo. But as a mouse-drunk Ms. Cheeze reminds me, lawns are made for driving, as she deftly maneuvers the Minimini Cooper in series of donut figures not unlike an elite equestrian embarking on an intricate dressage program. Dandelions be damned!

1 Comment

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