March 07, 2007
An Environmental Condition
As discussed in class one day, lawns have been on the rise since the rise of the middle class. It is a status symbol, especially in suburban neighborhoods. My father is a perfect example of middle class suburbanites who take immense pride in their lawns, almost to the extent of an obsession. As soon as it gets warm out he can be seen on his knees in the mud, fussing with his flowers.
Lawn obsession takes an interesting turn in august when the combination of overwatering, overfertilizing, and humidity causes dozens of enormous mushrooms to sprout in our lawn. They grow following the curvature of the flower bed, probably from runoff of whatever is in that garden-I don't know. Overnight miniscule mushrooms will grow to almost a foot high, then the next morning my dad will go outside and angrily kick them until they break apart. Two days later they are back.
I think the mushrooms are way cooler than the flowers, but no, not my dad. He thinks they are hideous, which is what everyone thinks of unwanted things in their lawns. The more my dad gardens, the more these huge mushrooms like to take root in our yard, repeatedly popping up until it gets colder.
According to Michael Pollan in "Why Mow? The Case Against Lawns", America is more covered by, and spends more money on lawns than any other country in the world. They are prized as an American icon just like the automobile. But no one thinks about the downsides of our lawns, just like it is not in the American tradition to think about the adverse effects of what we are doing to our greater environment. Enormous mushrooms growing in our lawns should serve as a very tangible warning that what we do to nature has immediate and negative effects.
Posted by sarahcl at March 7, 2007 09:08 PM