Roger and I were sitting on the porch, drinking tea. We had just put up a tree stand from which he could defend my blueberries, now that bow season has opened, against the marauding hordes of cervine creatures that have threatened the aforesaid antioxidant-based retirement plan.
It was still too wet to be in the garden, but I was about to remount the mower and ride off into the sunset.
“I can’t believe how shaggy the grass is after nine-plus inches of rain,” I complained. “It looks so very nasty now, and tomorrow it’ll look like a miniature windrowed hayfield.”
“It’s too green to be a fire hazard and too low to block your view,” he said. “On a scale from having a hangnail to being hit by a tsunami, what’s the tragedy value of a little temporarily unkempt grass?”
I was mildly shamed. My overgrown lawn was nothing worse than a temporary irritant, but I want it to look nice all the time, and my wife votes double for that.
“It’s an inconvenience, like being behind a slow driver on a curvy road,” I said. “Or like waiting in the grocery line while someone redeems 27 coupons and then looks through her purse for exact change. Or like waiting for the driver in front of you to get off her phone and notice the light is green.”
Roger sighed again.
“For a gardener, you don’t seem to have learned much patience,” he said. “You start seeds in January, set out plants in April, and eat tomatoes in June, but you can’t stand a bit of waiting for fellow humans’ foibles or for God to decide when to let it rain?”
I was a bit more shamed this time. It is rather presumptuous, I allowed, to second-guess the Almighty about precipitation.
“It’s OK to want to enhance your place,” Roger said. “What you’re looking for is when you want to be in control.”
I must have looked puzzled.
“Everything in life has ragged times to it, just like your lawn (and mine) right now. Work, emotions, finances, health, relationships – even faith,” he continued. “We’re privileged to help smooth some of those ragged edges, but we never get to control them. Grass is always going to need mowing. Nobody’s going to be happy every minute. And so forth.”
Roger looked across the fence. The pasture, which hadn’t seen a mower since last fall, was awash in the brilliant yellows of goldenrod and perennial sunflower and the hazy blues of ageratum.
“It’s our nature to want to control everything – to keep everything in our lives neatly within our own dictates,” he said. “But if we did that, we’d never have wildflowers.”
Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal