green thumb, white knuckles

Two things first.

  • Although it is a vivid way to express intense, paralyzing, emotion or anxiety, I don’t love the term "white knuckles." Simply put, my knuckles don't get white. We should always question the use of phrases that are subversively exclusive.
  • I have a gardener.
  • So as a man with a lawn and no lawn mower, I was left with few options to manage the wheat field of a front yard that spring unleashed at the house. The neighborhood, arguably comprised of older less mobile folks; tends to be consistently abundant with various lawn maintenance services all eagerly moving about on Saturday mornings. ...each protecting their piece of the pie... each competing for new grassy relationships. After a few conversations, I felt that they were all too expensive and I would find an alternative. (Not excluding the man claiming to be Scotty Pippen's brother that stops by every three weeks asking if I have any work to be done)

    Flash forward a few days and my father gives me a call saying that he was by the house and he met a guy who lived close that would cut the lawn for $20. It sounded fair. So one lawn cutting - became two lawn cuttings - became filling a hole - became an unspoken lawn contract between two neighbors. He thus became... my groundskeeper.

    But perhaps the contract should not have been unspoken.

    I asked the groundskeeper to clear some of the shrubs along the driveway. They were becoming unruly and providing too much of a tempting habitat for local fauna. But I was not clear and he began chopping down everything with leaves.

    I took it as my bad and made the rest of my groundkeeper needs explicitly clear.

    Just the weeds and the overgrown brush.

    I game home yesterday and as I'm walking up from the bus stop I notice the mountain of debris in my front lawn.

    He did it again.

    Dozens of my 1 to 4 inch trunk friends gone... hacked down in the adolescence of their lives. I just stood there, where once a soft canopy of small indigenous plant life meshed together in a naturally occurring habitat... now... murdered...clear cut... I felt like a spotted owl coming back from a night of hunting to find my home had been felled by greedy loggers bent on environmental destruction. Yet, here in this moment... I was both logger and owl, duplicitous in action and emotion.

    So the growahouse flag hangs at half staff today for the side yard trees that found themselves casualties of progress. You will not be forgotten.