When I was a kid, my parents lived near a lovely couple with a large garden who rarely (possibly never) mowed their lawn. The result was a sprawling jungle of knee- or possibly thigh-high grass stalks, intermingled with daisies, dandelions, dock, clover, and ubiquitous bees.
In other words, paradise.
A bunch of neighbourhood children used to play there, and it never occurred to us that not everyone was equally delighted by the unmown lawn.
I went outside this afternoon to mow our grass, which has been rather neglected lately. (I won’t make excuses. It’s my grass and I can neglect it if I want.) I saw a mess of thigh-high rye grass, tangles of buttercups, and shrubs of red clover. I thought I should mow it so the pizza delivery guy doesn’t laugh at its lack of tending, and so the neighbours don’t get sneery because it’s devaluing their properties.
Very grown up thoughts. I was quite proud.
Pushing the mower around and choking it repeatedly with the long grass, I wondered when long grass stopped being a wondrous jungle full of tigers, pirates, and unicorns, and started being an eyesore.
I prefer the way children view the world, without judgment or baggage, with imagination. Let’s go back.
Maybe the hose is a snake, the tree a kingdom in the air, and the picket fence is the only thing keeping witches out of the garden.
Don’t stand on the crack, or you might find yourself with a small, furry spouse.
Spurred on by this realisation and armed with a grass-eating dragon, I battled with my jungle. For a while I was winning. But my dragon got tired and the jungle was thick with vines and man-eating flowers.
After a valiant battle, my dragon and I retreated, leaving the rest of the jungle for another day. May the unicorns live long and undisturbed.
What was wondrous when you were a child? What’s still wondrous now?
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