Saturday, January 2, 2010

Friends shrink the grass

In November, with two months still remaining on our sabbatical stay in Freiburg, S flew back to the U.S. for a conference, stopping off briefly in North Carolina to check on his lab, his students, and our house. During a Skype call, he fretted about how the renters hadn't been taking care of the yard: "it's in really bad shape; the grass is knee high, and it's filled with leaves." We made a half-hearted effort to arrange yard work from abroad but eventually realized it would have to wait until we came home.

When we returned earlier this week, I was focused mainly on the dead houseplants and on putting the rearranged kitchen cabinets back in order. The front yard looked more or less OK, and I didn't bother looking at the back yard. On Wednesday, S came inside after doing some work in the basement and miserably gave me a yard update: "the leaves are a few inches deep and they're going to be nearly impossible to rake because they're wet and the grass is waist high. It's a wreck."

So I put out a call to friends: Linzer Torte and coffee in exchange for raking help. And a few hours later, friends arrived, bringing tarps and ladders and rakes and pruners and children and appetites. As we dragged the leaves from the lawn to the now overfull compost pile, the intimidating grass retracted its claws and closed its maw, shrinking from being as tall as a sky scraper to being as short as scruffy winter grass is supposed to be.

When we were done, we went inside and ate Linzer Torte, apples, and cheese, and chatted until the sun set. It's good to be home.

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