When Spring arrives the yard work is a welcomed break from the monotony of being stuck indoors. The first weekend, when things have started to green and the grass is ready to be cut, it isn’t uncommon for the wife and I to spend the better part of both days working in the yard. It was one of these days in early April that I was startled by an unexpected guest. You can imagine my shock as I looked up from putting gas in the mower to see a lady standing a few feet away in a long flowing dress that appeared to wave, even though the air was still. Her face seemed to glow and was draped with hair that appeared to be intertwined with ivy. This was most definitely Mother Nature or possibly a homeless woman.
“Each year I produce an abundance of vegetation to beautify your section of my earth and all you do is cut it down,” she said in a beautifully melodic voice.
“Not sure if you have looked around but that is pretty much what everyone does with their sections of your earth,” I replied.
“I do not appreciate you trying to control my nature, nobody controls Mother Nature!” she roared back.
“Look lady, you seem nice and all but you really need to speak to my wife, I am totally in favor of just letting your nature run wild but…” looking up I realized she was gone.
A month passed and I hadn’t seen my friend again. Along with the spring flowers a vine had also come and taken over every inch of the yard that wasn’t mowed. My wife asked what it was as she was pulling it out of the hostas bed. “Oh that’s just Mother Nature seeking a little revenge” I replied with a smile.
Late May got painfully hot. The weeds started to grow up from the sidewalk cracks and there were 7 foot tall trees that had surrounded the garage, seemingly overnight. The grass was starting to brown a little but the dandelions were adding a nice cover of yellow and white to the lawn. One afternoon while I was spraying weed and feed I turned around suddenly she was there, sitting on the porch.
“So why is it you deem some of plants worthy to feed and yet find it necessary to kill others?” she asked.
“This may be a little to close to home for you to understand… see, there are weeds we don’t like and then flowers and grass that we do,” I tried explaining.
“Both are Mother Nature’s offerings and thus both are good, ” she replied with contempt.
“Again, you really ought to be talking with my wife.” I said continuing to spray, “she kind of defines….” Just as before she was gone.
By early July all the annuals that my wife had planted had died. We could only open one of the garage doors because the other had been completely covered by vines that seemed impervious to any of the chemicals killers I could find. The weeds that had been content hanging out in the cracks of the sidewalks now had spread making the cement look more like ill spaced stepping stones cast about in front of the house. I had also reached the point in the year that I wanted to be done mowing but thanks to ill timed rain it was still a weekly chore. I was leaning against the car drenched in sweat as I caught her reflection in the mirror but was too exhausted to be startled.
“I know, I know, leave the poor plants alone,” I said defeated, “look at me, do you think I enjoy this?”
“My poor, poor child,” she said, “this was never about you.”
“But the jungle by the garage… the weeds growing in our flower pots… the racoons tipping over our trash cans every night… you have to be responsible for some of that?” I stammered.
“Just dumb luck I think. It has been a very good summer for Mother Nature,” she replied smiling ear to ear, “sure I could have made it a little worse but you live in Missouri, I really didn’t have to do anything.”
“What if I just let you have it all!?!?” I pleaded, “no mowing, no chemicals, no…” I could sense she had left.
A couple months passed and I was mowing the yard hopefully for the last time of the year. My friend hadn’t visited since my breakdown but I was sure she was about. It had been a wet and humid fall. The grass was so deep I would have been better off hiring someone to cut and bale it but I continued to push through. As I strained to get the mower up the hill a gust of wind came up and blew clippings back in my face. I couldn’t be sure but I swear I could hear a woman’s laughter accompanying the wind chimes as I walked by.