Lot 1

A lawn.

Anoth­er lawn. It’s next to where we park the car and so it gets tram­pled. I bought an aer­a­tor and duti­ful­ly went back and forth stamp­ing holes in it. We bought a spade, a root spade, clip­pers, trow­els, a machine for cut­ting up the oak leaves.

Tiny acorns. A mulch of tiny acorns, and the oak leaves besides. None of them ever break down. It seems impos­si­ble that the end­less old oak tree next door would for­ev­er be pulling up what it needs to make new acorns and leaves from the ground beneath it, but that none of what it pro­duces should ever break down into nutri­ents again. Maybe the roots just swal­low them whole and pass them back up into the branch­es again to be reborn.

Anoth­er lawn. A hole opened up in it last year and hor­nets came out. I thought they were harm­less until I ran the mow­er over them and one stung me in the hand. I got stung by hor­nets three times last year, hav­ing not been stung by any­thing larg­er than a mos­qui­to for the last thir­ty years.

A box hedge. Anoth­er box hedge. I look out and wait for them to be struck by box tree moth, or box­wood leafmin­er, or box­wood blight.

Anoth­er lawn. A hole, or a trench, runs through one cor­ner. Why? We fill it in with soil and it turns back into a hole with­in a month.

Big stones from the foun­da­tion. The con­trac­tor dug a hole through the patio and right on through the side of the base­ment. Noth­ing left the lot. Now, big stones laid in lit­tle retain­ing walls, or hid­ing behind the weigela. 

That leg­gy weigela. I con­sis­tent­ly for­get its name and have to look it up again. Once every­one is done strip­ping the humans out of com­mon bird names they should get start­ed on sci­en­tif­ic plant names. So many inter­change­able cod-Latin-Ger­man names…

A bridal wreath spirea (no Ger­man there!), on our side of the neigh­bors’ dri­ve­way. It is mir­rored by anoth­er on the neigh­bors’ side. Before we moved in our pre­de­ces­sor would con­sult with the neigh­bors on plant­i­ng choic­es for best effect. 

A juniper, or real­ly an east­ern red cedar. Why would our pre­de­ces­sor, a good gar­den­er, plant it here, under the heavy shade of the oak? It leans over half-dead, as close to a curly Dr. Seuss tree as you would ever see in real life. I have to put it out of its mis­ery one of these days.

A red­bud, grown up into the util­i­ty line. My wife curs­es from the spring into the sum­mer at the lit­tle hearts its seeds send up. She goes around pick­ing out the lit­tle hearts and leav­ing them in a heap.

A com­post pile. It is not right. Every­thing is tight and air­less. It pre­serves the orange peels and banana peels and squash hulls instead of turn­ing them into earth. If I had anoth­er sort of tree next door instead of that end­less oak tree I would have enough prop­er brown mate­r­i­al to make it work.

Dog crap. Dog crap. Dog crap. There’s no good word for it. Any word you try is fussy or harsh or sil­ly. Crap” is clos­est to how I feel – you grum­ble and deal with it. You can’t com­post it – wrong kind of brown material.

Cro­cus shoots start­ing up from the ground around the dog crap. They are encour­aged by the warmth. There is a Bud­dhist les­son in all of this.

(February 2024)