Plan B: Land
Let me tell you a story about land.
When we first bought this little house, I felt a strong sense of responsibility to make my grass green and lush— here in Westchester County, lawnliness is next to godliness.
So, I went to the local nursery and had a conversation something like this. “What can I do to make my lawn greener?”
“Well, ma’am, the brown spots are from beetle larvae. You can put this on the lawn and take care of that problem.”
Beetle larvae sounds like a terrible thing. I pick up the bag and get ready to put it in my cart. “Will it kill earthworms, too?” I ask. I wouldn’t want it to kill earthworms. “Can I let my kids play on the lawn?”
The nursery guy gets quiet. Yes, it kills the worms, I see. No, I shouldn’t let my kids play on the lawn.
We talk about dandelions, instead, and my herbicidal possibilities. But something about all these “cides” is getting under my skin.
I think of my sister’s comment, “Pesticide, herbicide, homicide, infanticide, suicide. The ‘cides’ all lead in one direction.” She is right, more than she knows. Herbicides and pesticides are linked to an increase in lymphomas, notes Sandra Steingraber. Dogs (who lounge on our lawns) and farmers (who spray our crops) have the highest rates of these cancers. No one talks much about the earthworms and kids, but I see the connection.
Anyway, in the end I go with Plan B. No pesticides. No herbicides. I buy a 50 pound bag of grass seed which I use to overseed. And I forget about the dream of a false perfection that relies on the insidious “cides.”
“ And God said, 'Let the land produce living creatures…'” Genesis 1:24
For more Plan B thoughts and resources, visit my new blog.
Painted Hills, Central Oregon. Photo by Ric Ergenbright. Used with permission.