The trouble with spring is that it brings yard work
I know I’m in the very small minority when it comes to spring. Nearly every one of my friends, and certainly my dear wife, thinks spring is the most glorious time of year. Rebirth and all that stuff, you know. Flowers blooming. Warm days. Trees budding. Grass greening up and starting to grow. Everyone smiling after the long cold winter.
Well, excuse me for being less than enthused about all of that. Particularly the parts having to do with flora and the magical things all the plants want to do this time of year. Because what all of that — the plants coming up and turning green, the grass growing, the trees budding — really means can be described in the two words that put fear in people’s hearts — well, in mine, at least: Yard work.
A very few of us quite correctly believe dormancy is the natural and best state of all things green. The unalterable fact that every year about this time the wonderful state of dormancy gives way to new growth is but a cruel joke nature plays on us. To us, spring doesn’t just bring beautiful flowers, and green lawns. Don’t get me wrong. I like the looks of all that. But with that comes mowing, raking, digging, fertilizing, trimming, pruning, mulching and watering.
Yard work, to some of us, is, quite simply, the most over-rated activity on the planet. Why all my friends can’t wait until this time of year so they can get out their lawnmowers and pruning shears and loppers and spreaders and trowels and rakes and shovels that have been hanging in their garages all winter, dormant, just like the plants, is a mystery I will never understand. Nor do I particularly want to.
It’s a genetic thing, I suppose. Everyone seems hard-wired to do certain things at certain times of the year. Most of it I get. Lawn games and barbecues in the summer. Football in front of the TV in the fall. Overeating at Thanksgiving. The joy of Christmas. I understand and appreciate all of the natural rhythms that come in a 12-month cycle. Except yard work. When it comes to yard work I have a broken chromosome.
I listen to my friends and my wife wax, if not eloquently then at least fluently, about the proper amounts of phosphorous and nitrogen and salt and pepper and potassium and this and that and the other thing to make tomatoes ripen at just the right time, or to make roses grow as big as volleyballs. It’s all in the dirt, they say. Everything begins with … dirt.
Think about that.
Haven’t we all been told since we were children that dirt is not good for us? Didn’t our mothers tell us not to eat it? Didn’t they make us wash it off our hand before we ate? Didn’t they complain every time we came home with dirt all over our clothes? Wasn’t dirt to be avoided?
Of course they did. And if it didn’t make sense then, it makes perfect sense now. What makes no sense now is my normally intelligent friends for some reason have begun a middle-aged love affair with dirt — and everything that comes out of it: foxglove, fennel, fescue, fir. You name it. If it started in dirt then they want to grow it. They spend countless hours digging and playing in the dirt — exactly what our mothers told us not to do.
I’ve made more than one attempt over the years to appreciate this annual rite of spring. Parts of it were enjoyable. The Saturday morning trips to the hardware store, for example. I love to stand around and stare at the tools and gadgets as much as the next guy. One year I took home a brand-new chipper-mulcher.
It’s just that when I get home I didn’t want to use anything I bought. Better to simply hang it all in the garage and let it look good and find something else to do. Anybody need a perfectly good chipper-mulcher?
Yard work, I’ve concluded, is why God created my very good friends at WD Yards.