Apr 212005
Authors: Gavin McMeeking

In an effort to capture the spirit of spring without actually going outside, I made a rather half-hearted and, in retrospect, lame attempt to pattern the living room carpet after a decorative baseball infield using the vacuum.

While doing this was cheaper than going to Coors Field to watch the Rockies lose and easier than packing food for a picnic in some wonderfully scenic Rocky Mountain location, I still somehow found the carpet adventure unsatisfying. Worse, my actions were copied the following week by my roommate, who improved upon my checkerboard motif by introducing a circular shaded pattern that was, I must say, inspired.

I'm not quite sure what inspired my strange vacuuming behavior, but I think it has to do with my efforts to acclimate to seasonal changes. This whole spring thing is quite new to me. Though I now consider myself a native Coloradan after living here for almost three years, I lived in California until I was 22, and, as a result of atmospheric mechanisms I'd rather not get into – I'm afraid that, like "The Matrix," no one can know what the weather is. You just have to see for yourself.

I'm used to weather that never really got cold or warm, but rather stayed in between all year. There was a little bit more rain in December and a little bit more fog in June. I remember seeing lightning once – front page news that was. I heard it hit a tree and nearly killed a cat.

Funny things happen once spring starts. In particular, the grass starts growing again. I never really appreciated grass much until I was in Colorado and had to go through a winter without it, which I never had to do in California because the grass is green all year long. Compounding my newfound attachment to grass was the fact that I never had a lawn growing up, just a back yard full of oak trees, dirt, wild grasses, rocks, rusted toys, homeless people and zebras.

I've always felt that not having a lawn as a kid dramatically affected me. For example, I never had to mow the lawn, and by not doing so, lost out on a valuable lesson of hard work and keeping things neat so the neighbors don't think bad things about you. I also wasn't very good at sports requiring grass.

Of course, I wasn't very good at sports requiring wood flooring, baskets, water, coordination, athletic ability or stamina, so the lack of a lawn may not be 100 percent at fault in this particular example. Finally, growing up without a lawn makes one feel different, destined to be a loner, a screwball crazy person; a grass-less outsider freak man-thing.

Now that I live in a house with a lawn, I feel the potential for growth and reintroduction to decent society is unlimited. It is time to embrace the simple pleasure of lawn care and learn about the intricacies of nurturing the perfect plot of Kentucky bluegrass, Bermuda, Ryegrass, or dare I, Fescue. Though the lawn technically belongs to my roommate, I feel that I'm justified in taking over management of the grass because I'm bigger than he is.

I once laughed at the concept drilled into people by the grass commercials that the better your lawn looks the better a person you are. I used to feel sorry for people whose great passion in life was making their grass greener, weed-free and more neatly mowed than the grounds of Buckingham Palace. How wrong was I?

But maybe I'm getting carried away. Maybe I just need to clear my head and relax. Maybe I need a simple task that I can focus on without worrying about any of the stress of everyday life. Maybe I can help by making the yard a little nicer to look at. Maybe I can spend some time outside in this beautiful springtime weather looking at some beautiful, distant mountain peaks. Maybe I can mow the lawn…

Maybe I can struggle with the grass-clipping bag. Maybe I can get sunburned. Maybe I can get really tired and frustrated trying to maneuver the unwieldy mower around the plants and trees. Maybe I can suck down toxic fumes for a half-hour. Maybe I can do it again every week for the next four months. Maybe I can just let my roommate do it.

Gavin McMeeking is a graduate atmospheric science major. His column runs every Friday in the Collegian.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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