“If everyone waters their lawn, and pours chemicals on it to keep the grass growing, and green, is there something wrong?” Jake knew the answer. Everything was wrong. Everything about the world he lived in was wrong. A lawn wasn’t supposed to look like a putting green on a golf course. Not in his neighborhood. Not in his city. Not in his state. “This ain’t no rain forest.”

Jake knew the water supply was not infinite, it would run out. And then what would people do. mow the sand their lawn turned into? He wasn’t going to play the lawn game, that was for his neighbors. The children. The people who refused to grow up. Who wanted the value of their homes to go up and up, year after year, forever.

He didn’t water his lawn. Ever. He put stone walkways through his yard, not brick, not paved. Stone. Plain rocks that could be found everywhere. “It’s outdoors, you should wear shoes to protect your feet. Or flip-flops, or sandals.

He didn’t spread grass seed, or fertilizer on his lawn. No weed killers, no insecticides. Let the bugs, worms, and weeds do what they wished. The neighbors worried about mice, moles, snakes, lizards, turtles, rabbits. Not Jake. If they liked his yard, he was OK with that. Let them escape the chemical nightmares of the neighbors.

Jake picked natural ground covers for the area. Sparse grasses of all kinds, vines, bushes, trees. He even had natural, wild Vinca growing in his backyard. A natural ground cover, he hadn’t planted it. So, while the neighbors spent oceans of time and money, and poured thousands of gallons of water on their lawns, he enjoyed to Vinca blossoms in his backyard.

He had other wildflowers growing in his backyard. There were bugbane, buttonweed, white clover, and maybe even some primrose. His neighbors didn’t have any wildflowers of any kind. They had tulips, and daffodils, roses, begonias, petunias. All the flowers the hardware store sold. None of them native to the area. Except maybe for the azaleas.

“I wish buttercups would grow back there.”

Jake mowed his lawn, like everyone in the neighborhood. But, he didn’t have to mow it every week. And he never caught the grass, and put it in clear plastic bags for the trash people to pick up every week. He mulched his grass cuttings, let them stay in his yard, let them turn back into dirt. The mulch helped his lawn hold water from the dew each morning. It protected the roots of the grasses from the heat of the sun. “I wonder why I’m the only one doing this?”

He knew the neighbors wished his yard looked like theirs. With the same kind of grass, the same color of green. The same sculpted flower beds. It didn’t. And he didn’t want it to. Jake wished his neighbors would xeriscape their lawns. It was the natural thing to do.

It’s April 29th, the 25th day of the A to Z Challenge 2015. This is the 24th of 26 pieces I’m writing in April for the challenge. This one’s for the letter X. Tomorrow brings the letters Y and Z. I wonder what I’ll write for them.


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