God's Inquiry about Lawns
Imagine the conversation The Creator might have had with St. Francis on the
subject of lawns:
- GOD: Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going
on down there in the Midwest? What happened to the dandelions, violets,
thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden
plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply
with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts
butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast
garden of colors by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.
- ST. FRANCIS: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites.
They started calling your flowers "weeds" and went to great lengths to kill
them and replace them with grass.
- GOD: Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract
butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental
with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing
- ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and
keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any
other plant that crops up in the lawn.
- God: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really
fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.
- St. Francis: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut
it -- sometimes twice a week.
- God: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?
- St. Francis: Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in
- God: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
- St. Francis: No Sir. Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
- God: Now let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow.
And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?
- St. Francis: Yes, Sir.
- God: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on
the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a
lot of work.
- St. Francis: You aren't going to believe this Lord. When the grass stops
growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they
can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
- God: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a
sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the
spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to
the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect
the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance
the soil. It's a natural circle of life.
- St. Francis: You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new
circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay
to have them hauled away.
- God: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the
winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?
- St. Francis: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something
which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the
- God: And where do they get this mulch?
- St. Francis: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.
- God: Enough. I don't want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine,
you're in charge of the arts. What movie have they scheduled for us tonight?
- St. Catherine: "Dumb and Dumber", Lord. It's a really stupid movie
- God: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.
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