Monday, June 27, 2005

Grubby Overreaction

Beyond the fence, the corn lay beaten down by the wind and heat and drought, and the cups where leaf joined stalk were filled with dust.
John Steinbeck, The Grapes of Wrath
There I was feeling sorry for myself the past two weeks because I found brown spots in my grass appearing and growing larger with time. I had worked so hard on that friggin' lawn for months.

I thought that I had properly educated myself on lawn care, but I remained willfully ignorant about grubs, of all things. I just assumed they were merely annoying little moon-shaped ghosts that appeared in my shovel as I turned gardens over. Little did I know that these spawn of the green-mantled Japanese beetles (which themselves devoured our impatiens after they pupated from grubdom) could do such damage to the turf over which I had toiled in sweat.

So I fretted over the yard and shook my head with mighty dejection as I imagined dozens of grubs noshing the tender roots of the grass I had nurtured since last year. I moped around, that is, until I picked up Steinbeck's dust-bowl, depression-era masterpiece one day just on a lark and started re-reading it.
The people came out of their houses and smelled the hot stinging air and covered their noses from it. And the children came out of the houses, but they did not run or shout as they would have done after a rain. Men stood by their fences and looked at the ruined corn .... The men were silent and they did not move often. And the women came out of the houses to stand beside their men--to feel whether this time the men would break. The women studied the men's faces secretly, for the corn could go, as long as something else remained.
I dried myself up directly and I got back to the yard work without another twinge of self-pity for problems that don't matter a hill of beans in perspective. I'll just rake up the rootless blades, nurture what's left, and start over again in the fall.

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