Samurai Sunday


My Lawn – The Axis of Evil

I look out the window and search the grounds for enemy plant combatants. The situation is grave. The dandelions continue to advance. Despite the hundreds I’ve already rooted out, I’m still losing the war on terror-weeds. I raise the alert level to red and prepare for a full-scale attack.

With plastic bag in hand, I move out and quickly spot a dandelion at 10:00. It has already turned white and is about to blow. It is a windy day. I have to act fast. I am battling a cunning enemy with a powerful coalition that includes Mother Nature and Poland.

My heart pumps furiously as I pounce and rip the evil-flower from the ground. Yet, there is no time for celebration. Dandelions are everywhere: at 12:00, 2:00, 3:00, 4:00, 5:00, and even at 8:15. Time is short. Some days, time is tall when she wears three-inch heels. Today, time wears flats. Maybe I still have a chance if I can spot the dandelion general, who is cleverly disguised like his soldiers and can only be identified by the slight mustache he wears, that is usually mistaken for a caterpillar.

I clutch my bag and pray the wind subsides. It gets worse. Praying has never really worked for me. So, I think about my husband and son and the risk I have undertaken for the sake of a somewhat green lawn with scattered brown spots and holes, courtesy of the dogs. But, really, it’s more than that. It’s personal. I race through the yard, a force to be reckoned with, swiping the explosive dandelion heads from their stems before the wind scatters the tiny white cluster bombs across the lawn.

I stop by the center garden to take a breath. It is 12:30 and my work has only started. So many dandelions. So little time. The dogs sit on the front stoop watching me. The white one appears sympathetic; the brown one is apoplectic. She likes eating dandelions. To her, they are a delicacy, a treat she can only have once a year, like Christmas. If only she could eat faster than the dandelions turn white. However, she doesn’t care for the seeds. They tickle her nose then float away onto the neighbor’s lawn. She can’t venture there without getting a shock from her collar. She is limited by the perimeter of our yard. For her, the seeds are more frustrating than the crows that caw at her in the morning, as they sit high on their branches in the Oak Tree. I feel sorry for her but feel sorrier for myself. As I’ve said before, this is personal.

I gauge my next line of attack. It’s time for the big guns. I grab the weed-whacker that leans against the house. When I turn it on, the white dog runs. The brown dog stays and continues staring at me. She’ll never forgive me for this. I turn away then forge ahead. It’s time once again to engage the enemy. Some weed combatants are visible, standing tall, decoys, I imagine, while others hide low in the grass. They are the most dangerous. If I can’t pinpoint their location today, by tomorrow they’ll most certainly have earned their wings. I continue inflicting as much damage as possible until rain drenches my back. The dandelions suffer heavy casualties, but it’s still not enough. With Mother Nature and Poland on their side, the dandelions are a formidable foe.

I am forced to retreat to the kitchen to restock my supplies. I load up on garbage bags and bottled water then head out to the front to a blast of thunderclouds and a rapid-fire rain attack. The dandelions have already brought in reinforcements. I’m outnumbered, outmaneuvered, and out-of-breath. The outlook looks dismal. I am but a coalition of one in my war against evil-flowers. I grab a bottle of Poland Spring to re-hydrate. After gulping it down, I stare at the label on the bottle and smile. With renewed energy, I march toward the dandelions and their coalition of three, hold up the empty bottle, and scream, “If I can’t have Poland, at least I can have Poland Spring.”

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