Live from English Class vol. 1

Man vs. Backyard

February 5, 2009 ENGL 1301


I am, by definition, not an outdoorsy sort. I was born and raised in a very urban environment and I suffer from allergies and asthma, so I rarely find myself one-on-one with nature. There was an occasion where I had no recourse but to take on nature myself. I moved into a house where the backyard had been severely neglected. The grass had grown to a height that would hide even the largest toddler from plain sight. The combination of greens, tans and browns that the grass, weeds and foliage presented was seemed to combine into one large ocean of plant life. From the lonely square of a concrete patio that stood as an island of sanity in a confusing sea of leaves, blades of grass, and stalks of botanical mysteries, my eyes glazed over at the unrestrained power of plant-life. This was not a backyard, but a wildlife preserve. My sense of sight was soon overwhelmed by the undeniable presence of animal waste. The pervasive nature of the smell was more reminiscent of livestock than of man’s best friend or a mouse’s worst enemy. The smell bombarded me from so many directions that it was clear that it would be futile to actually go and look for the offending pile, not that even the most prodigious pile of excrement would be visible over these amber and green waves that would snicker derisively at even the most powerful of lawnmowers. I closed my eyes and listened to the silence to see if the yard had any last words. Only the occasional cat call from a bird whistling at my misfortune could be heard. I started to walk slowly from the back door to the each corner of the yard, until I realized three steps in that the wearing shorts may have been the right thing to do in light of the blistering morning sunshine of a Texas early-morning in July, but that my bare legs would fall victim to enough scratches and scrapes and general moments of itchiness that would make merely being hot a much more bearable fate. After changing into a pair of beat-up jeans, I resumed my trek throughout the yard, attempting to gauge the actual resistance that the yard would put up to being tamed. While the yard had clearly gotten much too out of control to allow safe passage of any kind of lawn mower, I was able to step tall through the grass, making a path of sorts and allowing myself to actually see the ground. I vowed victory, turned on my Ipod, grabbed a weedwhacker and went to work.



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