Sometimes, I look across our yard and sigh, “Too much of that stubborn red Georgia clay shines through.” I think, “Oh, one day….”
I’d love for grass to grow where the orangey-redness dominates. It takes hard work, money, dedication and water to do what I’d like. I can supply the hard work and much of the dedication but the money and water are bosses unto themselves.
I tried, a couple of times at least. It cost a small fortune in seed and fertilizer to cover half of the yard while my freckles multiplied rapidly in the three days it took me to cover it with straw. But I lost two pounds.
Then, after that hard work and money, the rain didn’t come. A drought, both times, stole from me. Oh, I know there are people who would have spent whatever money and water it took to wet the ground. I can’t do it. I can’t rob the environment while others suffer.
“Maybe we should put in a well,” Tink suggested. I nodded. I didn’t do that when I built the house because I didn’t realize wells are practically maintenance-free now. I just remembered all the times Daddy had to prime ours when I was growing up.
Lately, though, I’ve been thinking a lot about William Faulkner when I survey the bald patches. Have you ever visited Rowan Oak, his home in Oxford, Mississippi, which is now owned by Ole Miss? Now, that yard makes mine look like the grounds of the Palace of Versailles.
The Southern colonial farmhouse sits behind some tall, scruffy pines. The path leading to the house is dirt and often scattered with pine needles. The yard has bare patches and there is no proper landscaping around the house which, I would like to point out, I do have in the form of boxwoods, hollies, confederate jasmine, and azaleas. The bushes that grow here and there at Rowan Oak are plain and simple as though they grow wild.
Behind the house, the back yard looks like those of my mountain family who cut the grass (or let the mules graze) and that was it.
When I look at my yard I’d like to remember what Faulkner told his wife, Estelle, when she said she would like to restore the gardens and make a pretty place of it. He said, “Only new money would ruin a garden like that.”
So, I’ll just keep what’s left of the old money and learn to admire the old yard.
Thank you, Mr. Faulkner.
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