Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Sunday found me on my knees in the sprouting grass, finally givin' some lovin' to my long-suffering and oft-neglected yard. The yard was always the Ex's territory, you see; I was the Inside, he was the Outside. That statement is more apt than I can say.

The yard was the Ex's pride and joy. Last year, the first summer after our split, I will admit to being a bit--shall we say, passive aggressive?--about the yard. As in, Screw you, Yard! To hell with you, Yard! Granted, I had a lot of other things going on, AND I generally have a Black Thumb, so making the yard my last priority perhaps wasn't as much of a statement as it seems. But in any case, the poor jilted yard needs a tender hand this year. The yard, to put it in the parlance of our times, needs a good boinking.

So, there I was, pruning the ornamental grasses, maneuvering the oversized mower and trimmer (damned men and their need for large machinery), putting on gardening gloves and pulling up the grasses from around the edging. The lilac in the front yard especially needed some attention; shooters were already making their attack on the surrounding areas, errant grass surrounded the shrub, and the old leaves that I spitefully refused to rake up last fall had been blown into drifts around and behind it. As I clipped and raked and dug endlessly, I suddenly though of my grandmother, the Master Gardener. My grandmom's garden was always beautiful. She never put me to work in the flower beds (she was way too smart for that; I had an unholy love of snap dragons and would never have been able to resist mauling them). Instead, she gave me the odious task of weeding the front steps. We lived in Florida, and our front steps were red brick. Tiny green creeping vines sprouted from between the bricks in a sort of never-ending cycle, and all summer long, it was my job to destroy them. As a kid, I hated that job. Strangers have lived in my grandmother's house for 25 years now; my grandmother's been dead for 15. I'd give anything to sit on those steps and rub my fingers raw pulling up those damned weeds.

So there I was, digging up the grass from around the lilacs. I love lilacs. This state is full of them--overgrown, wild, unstoppable. After we moved here, away from my grandmother, away from growing things, we lived in a rundown house out in the middle of the dry, dry countryside. I missed the moss, the orange trees, the snap dragons. We couldn't even grow grass. My mother tried and tried, but she kept turning up rocks. No matter how many she dug up, the ground was always full of them. The lilacs were the only wild things that didn't care--the lilacs and the irises, and these are still two of my favorite flowers. So last Sunday, in my head, I'd be thinking, Dear God, will this freaking grass never END? and then I'd shift and get a face full of lilacs, and suddenly I wouldn't mind that I'd been pulling this grass for hours, years, centuries. The grass, the lilacs, and the endless spring.