Forget the Roses, Paint the Lawns Green

Yes, we live in a desert, but my daughter’s neighborhood in Phoenix requires a section of lawn in the front yard.  Last Sunday the New York Times had this article:

Spraying to Make Yards Green … but With Paint, Not Water

PHOENIX — There used to be two kinds of homeowners in this scorching city, those with dazzling green lawns irrigated by sprinklers and those with more natural backyard expanses of rocks, cactuses and desert flora, which required no watering at all.

Now, though, the grass may be greener next door simply because of a fresh coat of paint.

Homeowners’ associations in this arid region typically have rules requiring residents to maintain either desert landscaping or green grass, with brown lawns not an option.

This is the time of year, with summer approaching and the winter grass dying out, when letters typically go out to homeowners reminding them of the rules and making it clear that violators could face fines or even legal action should their lawns take on an unsatisfactory hue.

The pressure to keep grass green has prompted some residents to try money-saving shortcuts, the most innovative of which is to dye the grass green…

Forty years ago, when I moved to Tucson I remember doing a double-take when I saw maintenance workers spraying the median grass green.  It was trendy back then, rather than plant a winter rye lawn, when the bermuda was dormant and brown, to paint it green, and many variations on the color were available.  Then I thought that the fashion had died out.  It apparently has been resurrected for a different season.

Birds

Mockingbird at my birdbath this morning (my photo).  Tuesday, in Phoenix babysitting the grandkids, spotted a brown-headed cowbird in their yard.  My father used to hate those birds because…

Cowbirds lay their eggs in other birds’ nests. Female cowbirds have even been observed killing nestlings to make way for a cowbird egg.

Brought to mind the Chinese throw-away girls, babies adopted by Americans to raise.

Spring

Driving back from Phoenix, noticed that the desert marigold and brittle bush flowers have been spent, but the palo verdes were in full yellow regalia.

Two bunnies in the yard nibbling on my Lady Banksia rose, which has only a dozen small yellow blossoms.

Some of the native sweet acacias are displaying a delicate tracery of leaves.  The tall willow acacias I planted at this house and the one next door look dead.  I’ll wait another month before I call the professional in to cut mine down.  I know that my neighbor won’t pay for his to be done – he’ll wait until they fall over.  

His neighbor on the other side had gotten him to, relatively quickly, remove a blown-down tree and giant century plant stalk (shown here before it plummeted) on that side of the house, in the past few years, by threatening lawsuits if they fell on his house.  I’d hate to do that.

Melancholia

Remember when the USSR broke up and the Berlin Wall went down?  There was such euphoria in the world.  We thought that the Good Guys would win.  No longer.

I have a hard time listening to NPR news.  Wars and revolutions and hundreds killed – so depressing.  I can’t even listen to classical music – I just picture Louis XIV overdressed fops dancing, or jazz music – it’s so discordant.

Then there’s the economy – unemployment stagnant, but bonuses and tax breaks for the super rich.  Arizona Governor Brewer proposes cutting 280,000 from Medicaid, the Working Poor.  Meanwhile…

By her own admission, Heidi Montag is ‘beyond obsessed’ with plastic surgery.  So much so that the 23-year-old star of The Hills underwent 10 procedures in just one day in her quest for ‘perfection’.

Spring is flowering around me, but I can’t see any goodness in People’s hearts, just the greed of the super-rich and the Tea Party’s lack of empathy for the Poor.  Were there ever Compassionate Conservatives?

The Second Coming by W.B Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in the sands of the desert.

A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

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