Outside the window our neighbor’s gardner is using a leaf blower to clear the sidewalk. Both the neighbor’s on the left and on the right have gardners. They come about once a week and make a lot of noise. Electric leaf blowers, gas lawn mowers, edgers, loud things that trim and cut and do all of that sort of thing.
Our yard is quiet. And there’s a big spider right outside the window that I’ve been watching for weeks now as it catches flies, rolls them up, sucks them out. It’s intriguing.
But I guess I found myself thinking this morning about all the things that we don’t do. We don’t sweep the spider webs off the front porch, for one. We don’t edge the lawn. (Are you gasping in horror?) That’s right. Never. If the tendrils of bermuda grass reach their spindley arms too far onto the sidewalk I bend over and quietly yank them out. We do mow the lawn, but with a hand push mower.
We don’t really wash the car either. It’s very dirty right now, because there was a dust storm, and then a light sprinkle of rain, so it looks like we drove through Africa on a safari.
So I live with a certain amount of guilt about these things. But just a certain amount.
Consider, let’s say, that it takes twenty minutes to edge the lawn. (I wouldn’t really know how long it takes. Maybe longer than that). And let’s say you have to edge it every week in summer, which in Fresno is more like May through September. That’s at least 20 times edging the lawn. 400 minutes. Let’s round it to five hours. And maybe washing the car takes the same amount of time, so there’s another five hours. Sweeping cobwebs, dusting the furniture, ironing, washing windows . . . okay, more time there. Anyway, let’s say that one person uses all that time to write poetry, learn to play the cello, and play scrabble with their kids. At the end of ten years, the one person will have a clean car, a well-edged lawn, and no cobwebs. The other person will have writen a book of poetry, enjoyed playing Bach’s Cello Suite no. 1, and spent quality time with their kids, and have a dirty car and a somewhat bushy looking lawn.
So I ask us all: is a somewhat bushy looking lawn really all that bad?