The Tyranny of the Lawn

This incredibly rainy summer has resulted in my Cape Cod lawn actually living and thriving through August like some fescue exhibition test farm owned by a lawn products company. The damn thing is growing despite my best efforts to kill it, replenished by the banks of rain that have ruined baseball games, made children sullen, and horrified poor renters who have dropped $2,000 a week to sit inside and stare at the verdant wet green lawns of Cotuit.

A year ago HBO produced a mini-series on the lif e of President John Quincy Adams based on David McCullough’s wonderful biography. The scenes that struck me the most were of Adams’ homestead in Braintree, south of Boston, and the chaos that was his so-called lawn. A mess of flowers, waist high grass, and a living lawnmower or too that bleated” Baaa.”  Oh to be a colonial and not own a Honda power mover or pay the landscaper $100 every week to keep the weeds at bay.

Reverend Jeremy popped by yesterday to commiserate about the fall of the Kettleers and to ask if one of my kids would mow his lawn while he travels. Seeing as we’re both smack in the center of the village, across from the green and the library, there is a bit of a social contract to keep the place looking nice, so I gladly volunteered Junior for the task.

But what if there were no mowers? I suspect in this summer of foreclosures there are a lot of unmowed lawns in America. I read an article recently about one midwestern city that just shows up and mows a property owner’s turf and then sends them a bill.  So now we can add short grass to taxes and other losses of our libertarian rights ……

Back I go to cut yet more grass, a fine waste of a sunny Sunday before popping over to Beijing for a week.

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