Yard Work!

It’s that time of year again. The snow has faded into the ground, the grass is green and growing and the weather is more kindly. It must be time for yard work! Yard work can be a healthy, enjoyable endeavor, but I’m afraid my attitude isn’t that positive. For me, it’s mostly a pain in the ass.

I don’t care much about maintaining a good-looking yard these days. My wife and I barely keep it looking decent. Maybe that’s partly due to our house having what some would regard as an ugly, scruffy yard. I went for 20 years without a yard and got used to not having to do yard work. Now, after living with a yard for the last 10 years, I’m still having trouble adapting to the yard work aspect. I will admit that it’s good to have a yard; a place to sit outside and read, or to have picnics and barbecues at. A place for our dog to sit in the sun. A place to relax outdoors.

Still, I find myself feeling resentful that I have to spend time working in it. Maybe that’s due in part to the fact that my summer job involves working in the woods, doing similar work, but on an intimidating scale. Cutting and moving logs off of miles of trails, cleaning debris off trail bridges, cutting and disposing of brush. It’s like working in God’s yard. After all that, who wants to come home and mow the lawn? In some ways, maybe it’s a bit of a letdown after working in God’s yard.

I was raking pine needles in the back yard the other day; the needles being the unrelenting product of four towering, grand old ponderosa pines. I kept wondering “what’s the point?” Not only “what’s the point” in raking needles, but what’s the point of all the enormous time and money people spend on their yards?


Particularly in light of how much people claim they love nature. They’ll work their asses off in the yard and then when that’s done, they take a break by going to the woods, where the very same natural processes they’ve been fighting have total control. People love the woods, but they work hard at home to make sure their yards don’t look like the woods. I don’t understand, and I resent this dichotomous approach to nature. I’d like my yard to look like the woods, which would mean less work and expense for me and my wife. We could still have a little patch of green lawn, surrounded by native plants and pine needles. It might irritate the neighbors, but it would be a win-win situation for me and for nature.

After re-reading the previous paragraph, my brain said, “But what about the threat of wildfire?” Well, my brain has a point. We live at the edge of the forest, so maybe I’ll keep raking those needles and leaves and try to keep the grass somewhat green after all. Just in case.

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