It’s the war on your lawn

NOW, doesn’t that look nicer than some “ground cover” snatched from an Arizona desert?(Flickr/Pea Chease).

In an irony of slang and contemporary values, we now live in a time in which “grass” (the kind some people like to smoke) is legal, and there’s a lot of pressure to get rid of grass (the kind you water, mow and walk upon).

I have been dimly aware of this “war on lawns” as I see the lovely green stuff disappearing from the front of churches, schools and even many offices and stores. And this doesn’t even count the folks who don’t water their lawns out of principle, penury or prickliness.

The drought-tolerant landscape that’s been creeping in more voraciously than crabgrass ranges from the not-awful to the completely ugly. In addition to the decline is aesthetic value, you can’t walk on this stuff in bare feet, sit on it (dressed or otherwise) or enjoy a picnic.

While perusing my favorite reading material in the smallest room in the house, I came across a magazine article with the headline “Lawn Gone: Is it time to ditch your yard?” in which the authors – clearly in league with dark forces or concrete wholesalers – argue that lawns waste water and are maintained by running noise-making and polluting devices and often require the use of nasty fertilizers and bug-icides.

The recent rains have greened up many a lawn and the effect is uplifting. Garden Grove looks more garden-like, for example. Spring is being announced by Mother Nature in verdant shades and the whole world feels hopeful.

Having a green lawn has many other benefits. It helps water percolate down into the aquifer from which many of us in West Orange County get the wet stuff that comes out of our faucets, thereby reducing runoff and street flooding. It provides an ecosystem for many small critters and employment for lots of hard-working folks who mow, blow and trim every Wednesday in our neighborhood. 

Plus, it just looks good. It’s a form of natural art that soothes the mind and heart. 

Climate change may affect a lot of our ideas about drought and drench. The future may be greener than we think. As Walt Whitman once said, “The grass is always greener than the other man’s cactus.”

Jim Tortolano mowed many a lawn in his youth and loves the look and aroma of fresh cut grass. And not the kind you smoke.


Categories: Opinion

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