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‘Grass? But it’s so boring!’ sayeth The Lord

November 16, 2010

Tracy Crow, the leader of The Cathedral’s “Green Team” just sent along this clever dialogue between God and St. Francis over the painfully ridiculous phenomenon that is the American lawn:

GOD: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions, violets, milkweeds  and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles.

St. FRANCIS: It’s the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers ‘weeds’ and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.

GOD: Grass? But, it’s so boring. It’s not colorful. It doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees; only grubs and sod worms. It’s sensitive to temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.

GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it–sometimes twice a week.

GOD: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?

ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

GOD:  They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

ST. FRANCIS: No, Sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

GOD: Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And, when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

ST. FRANCIS: Yes, Sir.

GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.

ST. FRANCIS: You aren’t going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it, so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn, they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. It’s a natural cycle of life.

ST. FRANCIS: You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.

GOD: No!? What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose?

ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

GOD: And where do they get this mulch?

ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

GOD: Enough! I don’t want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

ST. CATHERINE:  ‘Dumb and Dumber’, Lord. It’s a story about….

GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. C.A. Child permalink
    November 18, 2010 7:35 am

    Over 40 years ago, a fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal explained how a large garden chemical company changed American lawn norms by providing free products and services to lawns for individual homes in selected neighborhoods throughout the country. As these homes’ neighbors saw lush expanses of green yards near their homes, they wanted the same and began to purchase/use the chemicals and practices needed. As more homes cultivated these types of yards, the homes with what the environmental movement at the time termed “all-American lawns” with their variety of grasses, dandelions, etc., became the looked-down upon outliers. There was a brief “back -to-all-American lawn” movement, but not much came of it. English garden-type yards, however, have been becoming more fashionable/popular and at least they offer a more natural way to garden. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder–and the popular culture. Our country’s current “lawn” values can be largely traced to corporate marketing.

  2. Fran Colombo permalink
    March 3, 2011 1:56 pm

    Regarding God’s comments about lawns. Years ago, when Eugene McCarthy was running for president, I lived on Long Island, NY in a typical suburban house with a large green lawn. However our lawn was “natural” and had lots of dandelions with their yellow heads waving in the breeze. One day a neighbor sent her little girl over to tell us that “our lawn was very messy and weedy.” My response was that I thought it looked like a yard full of smiling happy faces. The little girl looked up at me and said, Wow, you’re right, I’ll tell mommy.”

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