She’d landed on a lawn. She’d heard of them, but had never seen a real one before. There was grass all around Miss Level’s cottage, but that was just, well, the grass of the clearing. Every other garden she’d seen was used for growing vegetables, with perhaps just a little space for flowers if the wife had gotten tough about it. A lawn meant you were posh enough to afford to give up valuable potato space.
~ A Hat Full of Sky, Terry Pratchett
I’ve written about lawns before. How, if I ever had a lawn of my own, I wouldn’t bother to take care of it ’cause lawns are pointless.
Of course, like most youthful declarations (“I’ll never get married!” “I’m going to be a veterinarian!” “I’m going to live in a mansion in the woods with dogs and cats and horses and write novels all day!”), the high-minded, environmentally-conscious refusal to buy into lawn-care has gone by the wayside:
The lawn came with the house, which is located on one of the busier streets in my little town, so murdering the grass wouldn’t just be a statement: it would be a dramatic, public statement, plus an annoyance to the neighbors, plus a hindrance to selling the property if the Husband and I ever decide to sell the property. If there’s anything I dislike more than lawns, it’s making dramatic, public statements that annoy the neighbors and make it harder for us to plan an escape from the city.
So. Here I am, on a fine spring afternoon, enjoying a post-lawn-mowing sandwich and the smell of cut grass and spearmint.
There are worse things.
Actually, I have two mothers now: one by birth and one by marriage. They are both lovely. They have both taught me things.
~ How to read and write
~ How to play Boggle
~ All the rest of the stuff you learn through all twelve grades up to college
~ How to cook
~ How to gently, politely, ask questions that feel out whether or not the person dating your son has any brains
~ How to recognize common Michigan plants and wildlife
~ How, if you don’t know something, to go look for the answer somewhere
~ How to budget
~ How to decorate for Christmas
~ How to decorate for Easter
~ How to inspect a home you’re thinking of buying
~ How to clean and care for the home you move into
~ How to take care of a cow, and a cat, and a dog, and a pony
~ How to take care of someone who enjoys playing video games, and buzzing around on death machines
~ How to watch out for younger siblings
~ How to give gifts to people, just because you saw something and it made you think of them and it would be a nice surprise
~ How to welcome strangers into your home
~ How to remember that you don’t need a boyfriend, or a husband, to be a fulfilled, happy woman. You’re enough. You’re worthy of love. You’re not half of a whole, waiting for a soulmate: you’re a whole person already.
~ How to, once you’ve got a man, get rid of him sometimes
Happy Mother’s Day!
I love Michigan and all her seasons: winter, spring, second winter, spring for real this time, PSYCH! it’s snowing again, okay, okay, done with snow (probably), summertime, fall, second summer, first winter, fall again, practical joke winter – oh, wait, you weren’t kidding, and round and round the sun we go.
Springtime’s come to Michigan at last.
My favorite part is the way new leaves and bright grass and fresh blossoms seem to explode into existence overnight, shifting the colors of the world from pale and gray to green and brown and vibrant. It looks like celebration and feels like joy – every time.
Welcome back. =]
Today is my sister Isabel’s birthday.
Isabel is a photographer. This means that everyone expects her to carry her camera everywhere to document everything that happens and then social media it in a gorgeous, professional way for free. This also means she is usually behind the camera instead of in front of it, and the only way to tell if she was at a family function is if the pictures of everyone else are especially nice.
Here, on her wedding day, Isabel is spotted in front of the camera:
Isabel is my first sister. Not my favorite sister, because it’s mean to pick favorites (even though I did pick favorites when I was young and have probably scarred the others for life), but the sister who was the first to arrive. I was an only child before she came home from the hospital, and, from what my parents tell me, I wasn’t neither pleased at being removed from the position, nor very impressed by the new addition to the family. Somehow, though, we settled our differences, and made relative peace with one another, which has mostly remained in place for the last couple of decades.
Isabel has always been less afraid of things than me. Growing up, I did a lot of hiding while I urged her to steal this or that candy, talk to this or that person, check this or that book out at the library, make this or that purchase, try this or that food, throw this or that caution to the wind and go for it. You can do your best to be a strong, independent person, or you can bully a younger sibling into being a strong, independent person for you. It is fitting, I suppose, that Isabel, despite not being a firstborn, was the first to buy a car, the first to do internships in college, the first to room with strangers, the first to go on dates with more than one man, the first to leave Michigan and turn another part of the country into home.
Happy Birthday, Isabel, in your galaxy – er, state – far, far way. :) I expect it’ll be weird, and different, but it’s a lucky-number birthday, and a year for so many “it’s all beginnings…”