Call me crazy.
Ever noticed how Mother Nature smacks of parallels with human nature?
For starters, I’m no lawn care guru. Not even close. I just kind of admire lawns from afar. Driving past a gorgeous yard, I’m in the “Look-at-that-beautiful-lawn-dear” category.
My hubby’s in the “Don’t-get-your-hopes-up-dear” category.
Which is what led me to attend a two-hour class called “Best Practices of Lawn Maintenance.” The room was filled mostly with men, apparently assigned by their employers to learn the fine art of yard care. Judging by their slumped over sitting positions, none were very enthusiastic. Come to think of it, they were pretty grass-stained and sweaty looking. I know the guy next to me took one look at my poised Sharpie and tuned me out on-the-spot.
“I have a hard time,” the presenter began, “convincing my customers of a few facts. Maybe you all can help me get the word spread around. For one thing,” he continued, “people seem to want their lawn growing right up next to the tree trunks in their yards. They have no idea how tough it is for tiny white grass roots to compete with giant tree roots.”
“So what should we do, besides charge extra?” asked one of the scruffier men amid laughter.
“It CAN be done,” smiled the speaker. “But on top of the problem of the grass struggling for a share of water and nutrients, you’ll have to use a different grass seed that grows in shade.”
My mind went racing in another direction. I was envisioning tender white grass roots in a never-ending battle with tree roots a thousand times bigger. Note to self: If I’m ever a grass root, know when to stand my ground and know when to bow out and let nature take its course. Work harder or just give up? I don’t have to be everywhere.
“Next,” said the man with the microphone, “you could explain to your customers the importance of keeping air beneath the grass. Compacted soil is not conducive to a healthy lawn. About 25% of lawn soil should be plain old air.”
“We’re all just like that!” I voiced for the first time. “We all need our space.”
“Very true,” said the speaker, peering at me curiously from over the top of his glasses. He went on. “The third item we’ll be talking about today is crabgrass. Crabgrass cannot take root among healthy grass blades. It won’t even germinate! It’s got to have some bare ground to get started.”
“So if the lawn is growing in thickly, it keeps out the crabgrass?” someone wanted to know.
“If it looks like a carpet of green, you’re in good shape. But you need to emphasize to your customer how important that is. A single crabgrass plant can generate 50,000 seeds. Don’t let it get started!”
Again, my brain went adrift. What a fascinating parallel to real life! Emptiness will always fill up with something. Nature hates a vacuum. I can do better, I reflected, to fill my mind with higher thoughts; a lush carpet of green so I can avoid being negative and, well…crabby.
The guy sitting next to me watched my hand as I recorded my ideas. “You’re taking a lot of notes!” he observed. “You going into the lawn care business?”
“Not really,” I answered, wondering if everyone was noticing the same life connections I was. Taking advantage of a quick break, I whispered, “But can I ask you a question? It’s more like…an experiment!”
I took his shrug as affirmative and launched in. “Whatever you do,” I said, “do NOT think about that one thing that you hate to think about. Whatever it is! Avoid it! Don’t go there!”
“Lady, you’re crazy,” said the man, but he kind of smiled.
“See what I mean? 50,000 crabgrass seeds just infested your head!”
The speaker adjusted his microphone and returned to our presentation. By now I was happily thinking of the many things I’d already learned that day. I thought, maybe I’ll have a nicer lawn, and maybe not. But here’s what I really learned: Respect the laws of nature, know my place, stay grounded, choose my battles carefully, prioritize, know when to fight to the finish and when to surrender, give myself space, give other people space, keep positive thoughts in my head… My mind was a million miles away! I looked up at the guy I’d just been talking to. That’s when I noticed he’d scooted off about a million miles away, too,
Don’t you just LOVE human nature??