The Lawn and the Short of It

Why are people afraid of trees?

The Adirondack State Park, where I live, has something like 6,000,000 acres of land.  This great northern forest was to be held “forever wild.”  That was stated in Albany in the 19th century.

Now, it seems logical to me (I’m not Plato, mind you) that those who choose to live here would do so in the spirit of the “forever wild” clause, i.e., embracing the ethos of the natural environmental world that encompasses us.  This is a land of trees, rivers and mountains.  The operative word, for this post is ‘trees.’  Hey, I love a good rousing manly game of croquet as well as the next guy.  And can I put a Frisbee in the palm of a friend’s outstretched hand at fifty feet? You betcha.

So, having said all that, I now grow edgy and sullen when I drive by people who think they live in Newport, Rhode Island.

Simply put, I dislike lawns in the Adirondacks that are landscaped like Augusta National Golf Club.  As you compare and contrast (I used to be a teacher) the photos below, consider a few points:

  • The Carbon footprint for mowing these fields of Kentucky Bluegrass.
  • The egregious amount of water to keep the lawns as green as Connemara, Ireland.
  • The cutting of the trees (and then replanting selected nursery stock).
  • The alteration of the microclimate that comes with deforesting and replacing with grass.
  • The disruption of the landscape esthetic (argue if you want, but wilderness is vital to our spirits…look it up.).
  • Is Astroturf next?  Actually, on the shore line of a lake near my home, the owners put large sheet of plastic grass, I assume to prevent sand from touching the bathers feet.

These “McMansions” of the north sadden me and break my heart.

Look closely at the photos again:

Notice the top photograph and the Great Lawn.

In the lower photograph, there is a house there, a rather large one at that.  But you would never know it.

One property screams at you like a Brooklyn Dodgers Fan.  The other merely whispers like a gentle breeze.

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