Sunday, January 24, 2016

Battling with nature brings out the best in every man

I sometimes think if God had wanted us to do yard work, he would have made our yards smaller. 

I am only now discovering that I apparently skipped a year in trimming my back yard wall hedge. How did I miss that it was exploding in all directions like some giant, green, sticky accusation? 

I don't look out my window much.

A back yard was great when the kids were little, when they needed a safe place to play and climb and splash. Now only the dog is a regular visitor, rooting in the underbrush for lizards, unconcerned that the overgrown ficus vines have probably become sentient, and possibly carnivorous.

Ficus, in Latin, literally means "hassle to maintain." I could be wrong. My Latin is rusty because I took German. But it totally should mean that in Latin, and any other God-fearing language. 

I usually mark the calendar to shear the hedge back into orderly shape, like they do at Versailles or McDonalds. Last year I must have "forgotten." I am putting that in quotes because it's how we use that word in my marriage.

Somehow I never forget to buy chocolate, but I often "forget" to mow the lawn, empty the dishwasher and chop the vegetables. I blame the ficus, which, even now, is probably beaming out forgetful rays at me in an effort at self-preservation, and the rays are affecting other tasks on my list. That probably sounds far-fetched to you, but how else do you explain that once I went three weeks without cleaning the bathroom?

Ficus is in the fig family, but my hedge does not bear fruit, only ill will. It sits atop my block wall providing us privacy and the vague scent of an oil spill which has somehow gotten dusty. It is evidently not content to just be a modesty screen, and so it travels, reaches, spreads down across my pristine block wall like the opening credits of some darkly comic TV series nobody quite "gets."

Ficus sap itches. If you get the white, gooey stuff on your skin it's like that "Alien" slobber. Sure, I could hire a gardener, but then I wouldn't be able to personally give nature "what for." A real man lives to battle nature, and nature in return gives him cocoa beans. 

I'd nail the whole "dominion over animals" thing too, but Facebook beckons.