My lawn is possibly the worst in the neighborhood, with the exception of those of the elderly shut-ins, who rely on the charity of relatives to mow occasionally enough to keep the weeds from swallowing their houses. While my lawn is at least neatly shorn, thanks to the good fortune of living next to a teenager with a tractor mower, the ratio of grass to weeds has swung rapidly in the less-desirable direction in the two years I have lived here.
This negligence is uncharacteristic. When I described myself recently as being somewhat meticulous, my dad snorted and said sarcastically, “Maybe just a little,” by which he meant, “If you were any more fastidious, I’d swear you were adopted.” I do love the look of a well-cared-for lawn, with the blades of grass standing tidy and proud like little regimental soldiers. However, woven into the fabric of my upbringing by hippie parents is a disdain for the tyranny of conformity and propriety, and these notions for me have particularly coalesced around the American Lawn, the ultimate symbol of the superficial values of the suburban hegemony. It doesn’t hurt that there are about a million and one other things I would rather be doing than fussing over my grass, and I have a streak of laziness besides. Toss in my opposition to using herbicides and pesticides because I don’t want to pollute the ground we walk on, and you can see how I’ve landed where I am.
The good news is that I have partners in crime. My husband feels the same way I do, most especially about having better things to do than work in the yard. In addition, we now have our three young chickens, who are happily laying waste to the lawn by eating as much green as they can and scratching away what they can’t. I have a portable coop, which I try to move every couple of days, but as the chickens grow, they are getting more and more outrageous in their ability to devastate the lawn beneath them.
I could just leave the coop in one spot and let them turn their plot of land to dust, but it’s hard for me to deny them fresh grazing. They cluck with excitement when I move them, and they tuck into the weeds and grass with zealous joy. I didn’t have time to move them from their newly barren spot this morning, and when I opened the coop door to give them fresh water, they kept making mad dashes outside to grab some clover. It’s good to know someone loves my lawn.
Alethea Morrison, Creative Director