Accepting Some Types of “Weeds” in My Yard

Excluding the formally designated “invasive species” plants, it’s often rather arbitrary what people collectively label as “weeds” in the U.S. Dandelions didn’t used to be viewed as such, but now they are. In Ontario, Canada there seems to be a different category for these particular plants, where they are allowed to abound everywhere. This makes for quite pretty sites, the round, yellow blooms dappled over expanses of greenery.

In my front and back yards, to different extents, I selectively weed out some plants and not others. I cull assorted ones back but not completely while removing certain other types wherever I see them. As I’ve previously written (here: https://practicalpagan.blog/2022/07/28/radical-acceptance-of-letting-go-of-my-grass-lawn/), the grass in my yard is going to eventually die off anyway. Hence, I’ve been enjoying observing what hardy greens are naturally replacing it that I can accept and live with. Crab grass, for example, is, well, a grass of sorts and something I can tolerate while many other people around me seem to passionately dislike it.

I’m working more with nature here instead of battling it on so many fronts. And, frankly, I don’t care how “eccentric” that makes me seem to my neighbors. Like the assorted “weeds” in my yard, I’ve long been viewed by a good share of people as not belonging. I feel a sense of relief and peace over allowing many of the “weeds” before me to grow and be, their presence adding to my property, not somehow taking away from it.

In this place I call my home, I am a steward just as much as– if not more so– an owner.

Adios, Adam Rippon

Adios, Adam Rippon. I had fun following you with your pretty face and pretentiously fun camera closeups. But, the recent reel of yourself prattling on about the difficulties of being rich and deciding not to have children because you don’t want to have to explain to them why they have three nannies while so many children don’t, well, that went beyond the pale of tolerable ignorance and insensitivity for me. One person posted this comment to you: “Rude.” That about summed it up.

Now, I can have more space on my Facebook and Instagram feeds and in my brain to fill with something better or nothing at all, which amounts to the same: better. Ah, the power of choice to unfollow with a single finger tap. 👇

Radically Accepting Letting Go of My Grass Lawn

It’s interesting, this having so much grass lawn around my house within a neighborhood of homes with grass lawns. Even the one word term “lawn” is largely assumed to mean “plot of grass.” But, there is room for “lawn” to mean a plot of land filled with other vegetation besides grass. Someday, lawns across the U.S.A. are surely going to be far less grassy and more, well, filled with some other kinds of vegetation. I understand that this has already been gradually happening in some places. Climate change will render this inevitable everywhere across America and other regions.

I am only now embracing “radical acceptance” of the long-term un-sustainability of my front and back yards of lawn. The grass is dying and dead (or looks that way) in whole patches, small and large, while just hanging on over the rest of the ground. We’re in a drought this year, like so much (if not all?) of the U.S. is. But, we’re in a long arc of climate change over any single year.

I feel fortunate to have bought a home with a lot of grass lawn, a dream I long held like so many people have and still do. However, it’s a collective cultural attachment– certainly in my generation and older– this hankering for grass lawns as part of one’s “dream house.” I know; I’ve been a direct participant in this attachment.

What I find myself doing of late is thinking about other possibilities, namely the reality that, someday, my front and back grass lawns will no longer exist. I may have long moved away or died when this is the case, I realize. But, in the meantime, I am beginning to radically accept that maintaining some picture perfect green lawn is, well, not worth my time, money, and focus. (Actually, it never really has been for me.) It feels like a Sisyphean task, and one that goes so much against the natural environment I live in. I feel for all the people around me who work so hard to maintain their grass lawns. I also wonder how this is yet another way I’m somehow different than my neighbors with their ongoing lawns, but that is for another writing.

It’s time I open up to exploring the option of growing plants native to my area, not simply because it’s the right thing to do but, also, because it will be easier and more rewarding to engage in than fighting to maintain the health of such water-demanding vegetation as grass. Either that or eventually re-seeding with a whole other kind of grass that does not need much water and is likely *native* to long-dry parts of the U.S.

I have read that grass lawns are inevitably going to be a thing of the past. I accept this. In the mean-time, in addition to the effects from drought and hotter weather, I will likely soon be more constrained from maintaining my half living lawn via an inevitable watering restriction (or “water ban” as it’s dramatically called here) by my city government. It will continue to wither, leaving room for other possibilities. Such go the cycles of life, which, more and more, I simply accept.

On The Mindful Use of Social Media

Ah, the seductiveness and pullulations of social media. Over on Instagram, I selectively follow few public figures, most of them politicians I respect but also a few actors. I follow two “influencers” (though one may not even identify that way) who I happen to actually know. The few actors and actresses I follow don’t use their accounts to heavily promote their own image. This self image promoting gets less interesting the older I get. It is enough that I take peeks at “suggested” profiles of pretty young men, often sleekly gym pumped, who have tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of followers. They don’t need me within their mass audience and I don’t need their pictures filling my feed and brain. The peeks I take of these aggressively promoted strangers are the psychological equivalent of eating candy or ice cream, tasty fun but best done in moderation. It’s like when I used to pick up a tabloid while waiting in the check-out line at the supermarket.

There is a set of choices behind how we each engage in social media. The more conscious and mindful they are made the better. I choose to fill my feed with a good variety, such as photos of nature, useful political and scientific information, updates from my friends, art, humor, and, yes, a beautiful sexy man here and there. It’s been an evolution for me, this what I intend to be a more mindful use of what I follow and post on Facebook and Instagram. We’re all on our own adventure with how to best navigate this interesting jungle called social media. May we each grow from it— including adding to the betterment of the community— along the way.

Why I Cherish Having a Home

I just completed an interesting memory and writing exercise, which was to list all the places I’ve lived in my lifetime. The total number is forty-five. This does not include a few months-long periods of homelessness (by my parents’ choice, never out of forced necessity) during my childhood while we traveled about, staying in friends’ homes, youth hostels, camp grounds, inns, a thatched roof hut, and even one overnight on the front door area to a priest’s house/rectory in Central America. It is no wonder I especially value the stability of hearth and home so so much.

Scary Dog Moment

Two nights ago, during my evening power walk, I experienced some interesting encounters. Someone’s pit bull mix came charging at me on one of the neighborhood streets I stroll along every night. Fortunately, between my shouting the dog down and her owner’s commands, I was not bitten. A short while later, the owner caught up with me in her car and apologized profusely and repeatedly. It turned out she’s pregnant and I’m the second passerby the canine had recently gone after as if out for blood. I explained that her dog can smell and sense her owner’s pregnancy and is in protector mode. I also angrily emphasized that the local leash law must be upheld. The owner promised to always follow that rule from now on. We introduced ourselves and she said she never wants me to feel afraid to walk on the street on which she, her husband, and their dog live. I calmed down and walked some extra blocks— including uphill— to thoroughly unwind.

Life has its little surprises, but still is good.

A Lovely Day

I spent a lovely day with my husband shopping for assorted necessities plus a pretty bird bath (pictured), which we then set up by one of two trees in our yard. We capped it all off by taking a pleasant evening walk in the neighborhood. I observed how the next phase of plants and trees are blooming, the bulbs along people’s lawns having peaked some weeks ago.

Amidst a culture peppered with so much Drumpf-inspired Sturm und Drang idiocy, I’m continuously grateful to be living La Dolce Vita of sorts in a peaceful, largely sensible-filled immediate community. (How’s that for a pretentious mix of literary and cinema references?)

Housewarming Postponed

I was intending to throw a housewarming party in late July, with tiki torches placed around our lawn and deck, lounge exotica music playing. I’d happily host while nursing some tasty gin drink in one hand, my other free to gesticulate enthusiastically whilst showing friends around our nice home and yard. Well, that won’t be happening this year, thanks to COVID-19. Whenever this damn pandemic is truly, safely over, I still plan to hold such a party. By then, there will be much more to celebrate along with a housewarming. May we all do our best to stay healthy and alive in the meantime.