Waiting on Fescue

(Mid-May) My eyes are heavy. Puffed with pollen. 

When we moved two weeks ago—when it peaked 80 degrees on Trolley Run Day—I packed up all of my sweaters in sturdy bins and when we arrived in our house, placed them in the attic to store. 

But nature is a tease. I know this because while I'm still spending days with my feet tucked in sheepskin boots, I'm gingerly itching a mosquito bite on my knee. 

This is an in-between time. Spring is often thought of as the beginning of things, and to be sure, it is, but I've always thought of it as a waiting time. 

It's a time for working and for slogging through mud. 

In our backyard, it is shady. Trees rise up at every border to lean in over our little yard and cover it with an ever-spreading canopy of leaves. Adam has dubbed his second floor the "treehouse," his view on level with the tall, reaching limbs. They bend inwards as if fanning us, fingers spread.

This, it turns out, is terrific for a cool, comfortable environment inside the house. For the grass, not so much. Our backyard is an earthen patchwork quilt, mostly brown with tufted pops of green.  

So while I've dedicated myself to my little herb garden and two Boston ferns on our front porch, my husband has been diligently seeding, mulching, tilling, watering, worrying about spring downpours. Watching and waiting to see what seeds will sprout, take root, and grow.

We've been asking ourselves, "why do we do this?" Because we're not into "keeping up with the Jones's." But that societal inclination aside, we wondered. And as is so frequent with my husband, on this big question we agree. 

It's only grass, you may think. Or sometimes I think, we've been homeowners for weeks, not even months, what new ideas do we really have that centuries of others haven't had before?

This is what I love about stories and about literature. For what greater creation do we have to relate to our entire species, across time, space, and geography?

No, we grow because we too are small seeds, finding our roots and then our height, sometimes with the smallest amount of earth, water, and sunshine. Because isn't it kind of incredible that these tiny seeds, some of them so small I can't grasp them between two fingers without feeling I've lost them, don't get lost themselves? Or sometimes they do, and that's the way of life. Not all seeds take root. But many do and what scientific magic is it that they do and life continues? 

No, we grow because it connects us to the vast universe around us, full of life in ways we don't even understand. We grow because it feels good to have a patch of ground of our own to take care of. We grow because it feels good to nurture something so small, to coax it to life, to wait, and to water, and to watch, and yes, to eventually harvest or mow. 

This is why we wait through a month's worth of Midwestern storms, each one more thrashing than the next, endless and disheartening, furious downbeat after downbeat in our inpatient march towards summer. Why each morning we pad down the deck stairs to check on those tiny threads of green, beat down and nearly defeated and stuck to the mud and water, thick as wet peanut butter. 

Until the first sunny day breaks the storms and a few tiny blades stand up straight, and before we know it, more of them do and is the grass spreading? 

This is why we wait and this is why I write.