or “Intruder In the Dust”
Spring has sprung.
Or, as we used to say in the Deep South, “Sprang haz spruhhhhng”.
It’s hard to do the accent using only text, but trust me: it was indeed something to hear. It saddens me that true Southern accents are fading into non-existence.
But that’s not the purpose of this particular post. No sirree bob cat tail! I’m here to talk about the arrival of spring.
Spring has sprung here in Dallas. (Or is it “spring has sprang”? Or maybe “spring has springed?” But anyway …) Not only has spring arrived, it has arrived with a vengeance. It has marched across the Texas landscape like the Mongol Army, relentless in its onslaught, and laying waste to Winter’s gray stodginess until the landscape fairly runs with the sap and pollen of their enemies.
Everyone is always happy with the arrival of spring.
Everyone but me, that is. The arrival of spring means that I must go outside. No longer can I get up on Saturday morning, look out the window at the dreary, damp, cold, windy landscape and say, “Well, it’s too nasty to get out there today.” But there comes a day every year when I can no longer get away with that ruse. It is ridiculous to look out at the window at Nature’s verdancy, the brilliant green of new leaves, the exuberant birds, the emerging grass, the glowing, benevolent sun, and say, “This weather is not fit for man nor beast.” So, there comes a day when I can no longer say that.
And today was that day.
So, I ate my last meal (bagel and coffee), donned my grungy yard-wear (unworn since last October), and walked somberly outside. The birds’ songs were wasted on me. No, I was not here to enjoy Nature in All of Her Glory.
I was here to run a mower over dead grass and bare patches of ground, for, though spring is here and is busting out all over, it is still too early in the year for grass to start turning green. Plus, our unusually cold winter this year killed it deader than a doornail.
But it is a ritual of spring for the homeowner to emerge from his cave, yawn, stretch, and then mow the dead grass. This is to make sure it is all the same height, to hopefully vacuum up the thatch, and to nip any overly-eager weeds in the bud (literally).
So that’s what I did.
In spite of record rains we’ve received over the past six months, my yard is as dry as the Sahara. As soon as I fired up the mower, I was instantly surrounded in a cloud of dust and a fine confetti made of tiny fragments of dead grass, mold, fungus, and pollen.
So I turned off the mower, went inside, donned my dust mask, and came outside to try it again.
I ran the mower back and forth across my yard. I stirred up a cloud of the aforementioned particulates that drifted down the street in great billowing clouds. I half expected to get a visit from the Fire Department, who could be forgiven for laboring under the assumption that an old barn full of hay had gone up in flames. But there was nothing to be alarmed about. I was just recreating scenes from the Great Dust Bowl from the 1930s.
I must have been semi-effective in de-thatching the yard, for I had to stop after every pass across the yard to empty the mower bag, which was absolutely stuffed to capacity with the chaff of parched yard clippings (dust, mold, pollen, etc etc). Each time I emptied the bag, I would again cause great billowing clouds of the aforementioned particulates.
I repeated the process in the back yard which, though I would not have thought it possible, was even dryer than the front yard.
When it was all said and done, I had nearly twenty 30-gallon yard bags filled to capacity with thatch, chaff, (mold, yellow Kool-Aid powder, etc.).
Then I fertilized, because I easily succumb to clever marketing. The Scott’s company has me completely sold on the idea that their bright purple bag filled with chemicals that are purportedly “specially formulated for Southern Lawns” is absolutely essential in keeping my property from being completely taken over by dollar weed, dandelion, and about 20,000 other native flora species. It makes me wonder how the grass manages to survive it. Anyway, maybe it works; maybe it doesn’t. I don’t know. But the bag is purple. And it says right on it that it is specially formulated for “Southern Lawns”. Who am I to contradict them? I am no nattering nabob of negativity.
So, after about five hours in the hot Texas sun (yes, it was hot today), the yard looks great and I feel terrible. My allergies are punishing me for daring to get outside in the fresh air. My back is punishing me for pushing a hundred pound mower back and forth across my yard, for lifting nearly twenty 30-gallon yard bags stuffed with yard clippings, and for raking up 2 or 3 trees worth of my neighbors leaves. I am anticipating not being able to move when I wake up tomorrow.
I am already eager looking forward to the return of winter.