…, the mower broke down and the yard run away with me
I’ve taken to sittin’ and watchin’ it grow
And the rabbits are eatin’ like kings in the driveway
And I’ve just about found me no place to go
You’ve got to live and let live …
—– Guy Clark
The older I grow, the closer I get to becoming Guy Clark. It’s true I’ll never have his immense talent or his genial charisma, but in the important things, from his nerve-screeching Instant Coffee Blues to his languid Shade of All Greens, my life seems to have parallelled his fine observation of the tiny defeats we endure as part of the human condition, whatever that is.
The mower broke down last year some time, mainly due to my own negligent stupidity and I didn’t bother to get it fixed, due to apathy. As a result, the garden, or yard as Guy might call it, started to run away with me but since it was the back-end of the year, it wasn’t all that noticeable at first. Just a general scruffiness about everything. Little weeds peeping out between the patio bricks. Moss. Plants I don’t remember putting there. Plants I definitely did not put there. Garden seats leaning dangerously sideways. Wind-blown plastic flower-pots and the sad remains of a gazebo destroyed in the last storm.
That sort of thing.
I became a sort of Wordsworth of the Alliums as the wild garlic slowly, inexorably took over what I laughingly refer to as my lawn, so that eventually, today, I wandered lonely as a cloud in the bright Spring sunshine and surveyed the desolate landscape that is my garden.
I gritted my teeth like an action hero. It was just as well I hadn’t shaved for a few days and so it was that, as a trickle of sweat carved its way down my knotted brow, I hissed at the wild garlic It stops right here! Enough, you host of tiny white pungent daffodil-impersonators. This is where I make my final stand.
Was it for this that a thousand parties ran on into the small hours? Was it for this that countless musicians stayed up all night drinking beer and singing songs around the glowing coal braziers? Was it for this that crowds of a hundred and more swarmed to my home for significant life-events?
It was not! I replied with a scowl, as stirring martial music seemed to swell and I could almost hear the throbbing of chopper-blades just below the horizon.
Enough! No more. This garden shall return to its former glory.
Or to put it another way, I’ll cut the grass and pull most of the weeds.