I am standing by the front door. We have two little side windows that flank the door providing a great way to glimpse out whoever comes up. It is also a great way for guests to glance in and see me walking around in my underwear or scratching my balls. It's an image that will scar your soul.
I am looking out one of these two front windows as I have been doing every morning. I have been here for a good 20 minutes already and I know that I will make several more trips here today. Eventually, I will open the front and stand on the front steps and continue to stare. This is what now defines me.
My son is standing by my side. He is looking up at me, expecting me to say something or do something. I say nothing. I do nothing. I stare. He is talking to me. I do not answer but I do pat his head absently. Eventually he will grow board with this and begin to try and pull my pants down. It's a side effect of him trying to climb my leg like he is an Oregon logger. He believes that if he can just get right into my face he can force a reaction.
He is wrong.
I still stand there, not moving but my mind is racing. Possibles come in and out of it. A mental check list of the things that I had to do to get to this point. A review of everything that perhaps I have done wrong, second guessing some of the steps that I have taken. Self doubt is present but it's to late for that now. It has been planted, now all we do is stare. And hope.
For 3 years I have been in a battle with my lawn. When we moved in, it was hideous. Weeds ran rampant, unchecked by modern society or it's weed controls. If the amazon has a lawn, it would look like mine. The first year was spent digging out huge limestone boulders that were buried just inches below the surface. This explained why nothing grew there. The year after that, I hit the weeds head on. Dandelions become the thing that I have nightmares about. They were everywhere, they multiplied and took much of my grass with it. But I destroyed them, sprayed them into the hellish depths from which they came.
Last year it was the clover, the resistant clover. There has been talk at NASA at making the next space shuttle out of the clover in my front yard. Heat resistant, plentiful and it ignores all the screams and curses that I hurled at it. Scientists came to my yard and tried to take samples. They were never heard from again. I pity them.
Lines were drawn in my yard. On one side, clover. On the other, my grass. The clover was slowly moving forward, chocking off the grass. It looked hopeless but a man pushed into desperation will take desperate measures. That is what the clover never counted on.
I'm not exactly sure what the stuff was that I sprayed on it but I can only assume that it came from a little Chinese man in a run down shop on the bad side of town. I am sure that after I got my spray, he disappeared into myth and legend. I fought the clover, the battle was epic, bards could not find the words to describe the summer long battle. I planted some new grass seed last year. Unfortunately, it did not survive the napalm bomb that I unleashed. Some had to sacrifice so that others could live. We honor their memory.
When it was over, most of the clover was dead. Eventually I would return to the battlefield of last summer and examine the carnage that had taken place. I took my rake and began to remove the fallen, making sure to crush any survivors that lingered. Mercy is for the weak. When I finished, I looked down and I saw hope for the first time in three years.
I saw dirt. Clean fresh dirt. It was there, unblemished by the 3 year battle. Pure, no weeds on it's surface. No grass either but that is what this spring is for.
2 weeks ago I put down grass seed and watered it with my soul. I covered large areas with it and gently covered it with peat moss like it was a new born babe. It took most of an entire weekend and my constant reminder to my children to stop digging in the front yard, Dad is trying to fix this. Finally.
Every morning for an hour I would stand by the front side windows by the door. One of my children would turn on the water and run through the sprinkler. I would watch. They would come inside and I would hug them. They would hug me. And I would stare. Every evening we would repeat the ritual but add in some prayers, prayers for growth, prayers for life. For two weeks, this has been my life. I am literally watching the grass grow.
I am rebuilding the yard's life after a brutal 3 year campaign. Often times what comes after is harder than the destruction that came before. But I am a patient man so I watch and I wait. I watch to see what progress we have made. I keep vigilant for any remaining survivors that may come. They are there, few and far between but they are there. When I see them, I crush them with my fist. I find more satisfaction in this for some reason. The toxic spray is tucked safely away to do no more harm. But make no mistakes, I will unleash it if need be.
We use any survivors almost as currency to enter the house. No one is allowed to come inside from the front yard unless I see tiny little fists with a weed or two. When it's probably disposed of, you may enter. Hossmom is not fond of this rule but who is fond of carnage? It's a necessary rule or otherwise what was before will be once again. This cannot be allowed to happen.
So I stand for 2 hours a day watching the front yard. I realize that I have become the very cliche of the suburban father. I do not care, all care has gone out of me.
But when I look out there and see my new grass starting to thrive, hope arrives. And with hope, perhaps a good lawn.
Maybe. Out the window, watching the grass grow.