Feeling envious in a sea of green

The green is finally here — and I’m not talking about the political Green. I happened to notice that the world is much greener now when I was out walking our dumb dog Scamp and I found myself humming one of my favourite John Sebastian tunes about falling face down on somebody’s new-mowed lawn.

“It’s one of those days for taking a walk outside.

I’m blowing the day to take a walk in the sun,

And fall on my face in somebody’s new mowed lawn.”

— Daydream: by Lovin’ Spoonful

The green is finally here — and I’m not talking about the political Green.

I happened to notice that the world is much greener now when I was out walking our dumb dog Scamp and I found myself humming one of my favourite John Sebastian tunes about falling face down on somebody’s new-mowed lawn.

Doesn’t that say it all about a beautiful spring-summer day?

It got me thinking about lawns. As we strolled around our regular neighborhood route, Scamp stopping at every bush, post and fire hydrant to check his peemail and dribble his own return messages, I wondered how on earth a shih tzu the size of a bag of fertilizer could conjure up that much piddle.

By the end of our walk, he must have squirted the equivalent of a city water truck full of urine, which is an image that I don’t really want to think about.

But I digress. I was also thinking about lawns.

Scamp and I pass many lawns on our walks, and I can’t help noticing that there are as many varied and interesting lawns as there are houses.

This, in itself, is not much of a profound revelation — every house has a chunk of land out front, ipso facto (from the Latin: ‘ipso’ — ‘my house; ‘facto’ — ‘has some lawn’).

It’s just that one minute you’ll be passing what looks like the pristine perfect greenery of City Hall Park and right next door the lawn looks like a dandelion grow-op.

Not that there’s anything wrong with dandelions. I hear that they make a nice salad and a drinkable wine, although that sounds like an urban myth to me, but I would rather see them in someone else’s bowls and bottles than on lawns. My own Better Half thinks they are “pretty,” but I come from a background where dandelions, quack grass and other lawn abominations are strictly forbidden within several kilometres of any dwelling.

I clearly remember my Mom on her hands and knees on her perfect lawn with a tiny brush and a small jar of her own special weed-killing potion, painting every single individual blade of quack grass that would have the audacity to try to sneak up through the flawless carpet-like greenery.

Dandelions wouldn’t even dare.

If golf course maintenance experts and professional landscapers would have seen her lawn, they would have been wiping tears of joy from their eyes.

So you would think my own personal lawn would be a picture of lush green beauty worthy of falling on your face in after I mow it. You would be sadly mistaken.

Oh, our place looks just lovely I must say, but it’s certainly in spite of and not because of yours truly. At our house, the lawn is basically my responsibility; everything else is taken care of by the BH. So the flowers, shrubs and various other plant embellishment items look very nice indeed, it’s just that the lawn is, well, in a word: pathetic.

It’s basically a collection of brown scrub interspersed liberally with spiky green quack grass and dotted with dozens of round dirt-mound ant hills. It’s not that I don’t try. On the occasions I do crawl out of my basement office, I often mow the little lawn, put legal fertilizer on it and add some water when it isn’t raining.

This apparently only encourages the quack grass to grow and multiply even faster. At least by summer the mowed quack grass looks a bit like a nice green lawn if you stand across the street and squint.

I blame it on the spruce tree. We planted a small spruce tree on the front lawn when we moved in years ago. It was transplanted from sister-in-law Karen’s place at Sylvan Lake, and it was very nice of her to give us one of her trees. But of course at the time I had no idea the tree would grow into a deformed 10-metre behemoth whose sole purpose is to suck the life out of my poor little lawn.

I was daydreaming about this as I compared lawns on our walk when the leash snapped tight behind me, nearly yanking the leash dispensing handle thingy from my hand.

I knew what this meant. Sure enough, Scamp was firmly planted in potty position in the middle of the nicest lawn on the block.

I should have been paying more attention to the First Law of Lawns and Dogs: “Dogs consider it their canine duty to do their doodie on the lawns whose owners will be most proportionally upset.”

This meant that I had to trespass onto the lovely lawn and carefully clean up after my dumb dog and walk the rest of the way carrying a plastic bag of odoriferous dog poop, desperately hoping that I wouldn’t meet someone who wanted to stop and chat for a while.

Around the corner, we detoured down the alley, deposited the deposit into the first available garbage can and made our way home via the back yard, which, of course is in much better condition than our front yard because no one can admire it from the street.

I do like our neighborhood ramblings, though, and I’m only a wee bit green with envy when we pass by those patches of perfection that some lawn people painstakingly create with obvious pride.

As for my pathetic little lawn — I’m thinking either rock garden or possibly Astro Turf.

But then, I wouldn’t have the pleasure of falling on my face in my new-mowed lawn. It’s OK though, both my neighbors have excellent lawns. I just hope they don’t mind finding me face down on their property once in a while.

Harley Hay is a local freelance writer, author, filmmaker and musician. His column appears on Saturdays in the Advocate.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

House sales remain hot in central Alberta with first-quarter sales nearly double last year’s numbers. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Central Alberta real estate market hot in 2021

Residential sales nearly double 2020 in first quarter

Red Deer Mayor Tara Veer gave an update on Olymel's COVID-19 situation on Wednesday. (File photo by Advocate staff).
Veer addresses rising COVID-19 cases in Red Deer

Red Deer has added nearly 200 cases of active COVID-19 cases in past week

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw and Premier Jason Kenney say the province would look at adding additional COVID-19 measures in the coming weeks if the virus continues to spread. (Photo by Government of Alberta)
Walk-in COVID-19 vaccination clinic to open in Red Deer

Alberta adds 1,345 new cases of the virus

Innisfail RCMP are investigating a single-vehicle crash that happened west of Bowden on March 21, 2021. (File photo by Advocate staff)
RCMP investigate culturally insensitive graffiti at Sylvan Lake school

Sylvan Lake RCMP is investigating a vandalism incident. On April 17 around… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

FILE - In this Feb. 18, 2021 file photo State representatives gather at the Capitol, in Phoenix. Two years after Arizona lawmakers repealed a law barring any instruction on HIV or AIDS that that "promotes a homosexual lifestyle," they are close to enacting a broad remake of the state's sex education laws with a particular focus on LGBTQ issues. (AP Photo/Matt York,File)
Arizona governor vetoes strict sex education legislation

Arizona governor vetoes strict sex education legislation

People cheer after a guilty verdict was announced at the trial of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Minneapolis, Minn. Former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin has been convicted of murder and manslaughter in the death of Floyd. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Tears and relief sweep intersection where George Floyd died

Tears and relief sweep intersection where George Floyd died

This photo provided by the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office shows Ruben Flores, 80, who was arrested in connection to the murder of college student Kristin Smart at his Arroyo Grande home on Tuesday, April 12, 2021. San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson said the arrest warrants for Ruben Flores and his son Paul Flores were issued after a search of the elder Flores' home last month using ground-penetrating radar and cadaver dogs. He said evidence was found linked to the killing of Smart but they had not yet located her body. (San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Office via AP)
Document: Kristin Smart once buried in suspect’s backyard

Document: Kristin Smart once buried in suspect’s backyard

In this image from video, defense attorney Eric Nelson, left, and defendant, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin listen to Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill read instructions to the jury before closing arguments, Monday, April 19, 2021, in the trial of Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)
Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death

Chauvin guilty of murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death

This undated image provided by Matthew Pottage shows drought-tolerant succulents in a window box in London. (Matthew Pottage via AP)
Going beyond the traditional window-box garden

Going beyond the traditional window-box garden

Members of the Canadian Armed Forces march during the Calgary Stampede parade in Calgary, Friday, July 8, 2016. Female service members and veterans are blasting the way Canada's military police investigate allegations of sexual assault and harassment in the ranks.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Female service members blast military police over sexual misconduct investigations

Female service members blast military police over sexual misconduct investigations

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is joined virtually by Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland as they talk online to a group of front-line pharmacists from across the country to discuss the ongoing vaccination efforts in the fight against COVID‑19, from the Prime Ministers office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Freeland says Liberals open to provincial child care demands, draws line around fees

Freeland says Liberals open to provincial child care demands, draws line around fees

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Monday, April 19, 2021. Younger Canadians in several provinces are now able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Trudeau, Freeland seeking AstraZeneca shots as they become age-eligible with others

Trudeau, Freeland seeking AstraZeneca shots as they become age-eligible with others

Most Read