Lately I have been working my way around the sprawled furl of moss and crabgrass that is our lawn, where it intersects with and overlaps the mysteriously vast expanses of slurred and broken concrete aprons and purposeless cement curbs that measure our property’s internal geometry. The tools I use as I ruthlessly demarcate, again, the boundary between the organic and the architectural are a square-end spade and a half-moon edger, the geometer’s straight edge and half circle, Apollo’s rule and Diana’s curve.
Reclaiming the formerly fringed and fronded concrete is hard work, and leaves me sore and winded each evening before I clamber up the steps to the kitchen to cook dinner. It’s the only exercise I have been getting since moving out past the end of the sidewalk.
The mats of mossy grass and grassy moss I dismember are generous in scope, in some cases nearly a foot wide and a couple of yards long. Some of the trimmed flash is nearly pure moss, and has the soft, light texture of human hair. Loth to simply chuck the trimmed turf, I have been laying it atop areas of the lawn previously denuded due to shade and root competition, expecting to prune the overhangs shortly.
As I step, hard, onto the lip of the edger, feeling the satisfying ‘chunk’ of the blade as it scrapes along the edges of this concrete coffer or that cracked pavement, I muse and curse. I don’t believe the work I’m performing is moral. I believe it’s an expression of the spirit of evil in the world, of territoriality and division and inorganic order over biological diversity and lushness. I’m the executioner. I’m the enforcer. I’m wasting my time and at the same time committing sins against my nature and that of the world.
I’m probably going to need some pretty decent pruning shears when I get to the bushes and the trees.