Seeds for conflict are being sown in the U.K. over whether to mow one’s lawn or let it become a small patch of wilderness. It’s a new twist on an old drama. Call it Lawn Order.
More simply put, it is Grass Warfare. Pro-wilding advocates are squaring off against pro-manicured lawn advocates.
One article on the turf wars featured a photograph of Prince Charles standing in a suit and tie with a boutonniere in a lovely meadow of tall grasses and wildflowers. The implication being that he was gazing about in approval of the naturalization, but for all we know he may have been wondering what was for lunch.
What was missing were subsequent photos of when the prince returned to the castle, violently shook out his shirt, tie, suit coat, suit pants, socks and the undergarments he was wearing, then endlessly twisted about with a hand mirror checking his body for ticks.
We received a birthday party invitation from our oldest granddaughter, about to turn 12, who lives in the country surrounded by woods and tall grasses. She thoughtfully specified dress requirements for the party: “Wear long pants, socks over your pants, tuck a long shirt into pants and don’t forget bug spray!” No mention of a suit and tie.
Her mother routinely finds several ticks on a couple of the children every day. Checking for ticks on a child’s skin is far different from checking for ticks on aging skin. My left arm alone has enough freckles and markings that one can visualize the entire Milky Way in the stretch of space from my elbow to my wrist.
The husband’s skin is similar, which is why the last time I checked his legs for ticks, I may have drawn blood with the tweezers. What I thought was a tick was a very tiny mole. I was told that “sorry” is not a legal defense for medical malpractice.
Tall grasses are home to ticks carrying nasty diseases, as well as snakes, chiggers, mosquitoes, small vermin and invasive weeds. This is why even people who live in the country mow the green space around their homes. Reptiles, insects, weeds and vermin are not known for respecting boundaries.
Some on the naturalization side have put forth a compromise suggesting that people only mow the lawn once a month. This is referred to as “managed messiness.”
We once had neighbors who practiced “managed messiness.” Here it was a naturalization choice and all that time we simply thought they did not know how to start a lawnmower.
Going natural always sounds so free and wonderful, but in the case of not mowing lawns, unintended consequences could have some serious bite. Not to mention scratching, swelling and redness.
The important thing is that we respectfully listen to one another’s ideas and — above all — stay grounded.
Lori Borgman is a columnist, author and speaker. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.