How would St. Francis, patron saint of critters and nature, explain the American obsession with lawn care to God?
My mom emailed this piece to me, forwarded by a friend, and from a quick search of the tubes, I can’t find the author. (And I’m not the first person to try, so looks like it’s been floating around for a bit.)
Now, I don’t exactly have a St. Francis statue in my garden or anything, but this is pretty funny. And true. We’re a nonsensical lot…
GOD: Frank, you know all about the earth’s gardens and nature. What’s going on? Where are all the dandelions, violets and milkweeds I started eons ago? That was a perfect no-maintenance garden plan: plants growing in any type of soil, withstanding drought and multiplying with abandon. Blossom nectar attracted butterflies, honey bees and songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now instead of all these green rectangles.
ST. FRANCIS: It’s the Suburbanites tribes that settled there, Lord. They started calling your flowers “weeds” and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.
G: But that’s so boring. Not colorful. Doesn’t attract butterflies, birds and bees; only grubs and worms and is sensitive to temperatures. Do Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?
ST. F: Apparently. They take great pains to grow it and keep it green, beginning each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning pop-up lawn plants.
G: Spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make Suburbanites happy.
ST. F: Apparently not. As soon as it grows, they cut it – sometimes twice a week.
G: Cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?
ST. F: Not exactly. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.
G: Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
ST. F: Just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
G: Let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?
ST. F: Yes, sir.
G: Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer with less rain and more heat. That surely slows the grass growth and saves a lot of work.
ST. F: You aren’t going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it, so they can continue to grow it, mow it, and pay to get rid of it.
G: What nonsense. Well, at least they kept some trees. That was a sheer stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. Trees grow spring leaves, providing beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn, leaves fall to the ground forming a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect trees and bushes. It’s a natural cycle of life.
ST. F: You better sit down, Lord. Suburbanites have drawn a new life cycle. When the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.
G: No! What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter to keep the soil moist and loose?
ST. F: They buy something called mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.
G: Where do they get this mulch?
ST. F: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.
G: Enough! I don’t want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you’re in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight??
ST. CATHERINE: “Dumb and Dumber,” Lord. It’s all about…
G: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.