In 1958, My Father built a new split-level house in Denver, Colorado. It was the only one in our neighborhood. Ranch was the going style locally and not some import from The South. Dad was so proud of it. Even more so of the grass lawn both back & front. A garden contractor arrived one hot & overcast day with a team of guys who, with the latest in machinery, leveled and graded the yards. Then, they dug regimented & shallow ditches with another machine to follow by the laying & covering with Mother Earth of steel tubes for the underground sprinkler system. Like WOW!!! None of that hose business. Once all was sunk & connected, the sod-folk came on to lay strips of what had the modern appearance of wall-to-wall grass. AND FROM THAT MOMENT ON, at the corner of Clayton & Bates east of South University, My Life was dedicated to weeding. Forced labor, I was, friends. And, grotesquely underaged too. My Sister was excused. AND FROM THAT MOMENT ON, I realized the penance of being The First Born Child. Practically every Saturday, while My Sister went to ride her horse/horses, I could be found on My Hands & Knees singularly stabbing the wall-to-wall to uproot… none of that pulling-up stuff to leave the nefarious roots to continue their heinous work of ruining the perfection of wall-to-wall grass… the singularly errant flora, AND REFERRED FROM THAT MOMENT ON as The Weed. Since we were in the very midst of the Cold War, saying Communist was about the only invective worse on The 0-to-10 Scale. Well, perhaps, the plural of weed was right below Commie.
And now look at me… Task Numero Uno at Il Poggiolo is weeding. Happily though, it is an entirely different occupation AND way, way more satisfying on many, many levels from those olden days of stabbing out weeds in Denver. Take your pick… the physical, psychological or even the Spear-itual. Yep, yanking!!! The weeds are ruthlessly yanked-out of their comfortable existence in The Bosom of Mother Earth and are summarily tossed, with a cavalieresque flourish, to The To-burn Pile and away I go to yank some more elsewhere. There is much to do too… 21,000 square feet of much weeding to do.
The mindset has not change though. I am still much ingrained to the 50’s idea that weeds foul the landscape with their chaos & mayhem, green though they may be, and as they once did to that carpet of green grass in DEN. I feel dejected even today, when I see My Adored Plants… viburnum, alloro, quinze, box-woods, You’s peonies!!! being strangled by weeds. Yet, I am mature enough to recognise, what with the incessant local rains, weeds act as excellent ground cover & guarantor against soil erosion. They also produce cheerful & tiny flowers gayly announcing… Spring is here!!! I wish a sunny sky would but, never mind. Oh! And though You said weeds house snakes… YIKES!!! Everyone breathe… only the green & safe garden variety are around… I discovered the unwanted & gangly grasses also offer a lush refuge to Our More Delightful Fauna… a rolled-up porcupine!!! How cute, no? Now, I am not sure if I ought to continue yanking. Walt Disney may do a PIXAR film about me terrorizing adorable & innocent porcupines. Gads.