Fighting Nature

We have about two thousand square feet of bare dirt for what is supposed to be a “yard” on the west side of our little house in Ark City. It’s the side that is shaded by two old elm trees, whose roots rumple up through the dirt and spread out for sixty feet. I presume that they do that in every direction; I have confirmed it to the north, east and south. Whether from shade, toxic elm presence or the dirt dug out from the driveway replacement project and spread over the area, hardly anything has grown there for three years.

For the first year, nothing grew. In the second, a few dandelions sprouted. This year, a few other weeds and a very few sprigs of random grass. When a space of open dirt won’t even sprout weeds, a man needs to think carefully about trying to grow something in that space. So, after careful thought, I decided to try sowing some grass seed that was engineered specifically to thrive in dense shade and carefully crafted to cover up to 750 square feet in this very area. At least, such were the claims printed on the small bags I bought at Wally World.

The first small section I sowed sprouted quickly and thickly. The second section also sprouted quickly but not as thickly. I assumed I must not have sowed it quite as thickly. After faithfully watering those sections for a couple of weeks, I did a third small section. Spent a few hours raking and sowing Saturday evening, then another hour or more carefully sifting peat moss over the seed to help keep the seed moist. Then, I gave it a good soaking.

Saturday night, we had a bit of a storm. It rained hard enough that even under the elms, a few spots of seed had washed away. Sunday night, we had a bigger storm. Or two. Or three. My newest seeding was completely obliterated, nothing but bare ground and a few ridges of matted peat moss. The other sections of new grass were matted with twigs and leaves and wavy ridges of peat moss so thick they buried the tender grass.

Such is the nature of this world that the sweat of our brow and the labor of our hands sometimes end in futility. Not all of effort or care can keep the storms from coming and they sometimes destroy the things for which we have worked. But… Wal-Mart still sells grass seed and I hear that there are some firms that sell sod. It is also possible that this particular section of lawn might be better suited for a rock garden than for fescue. There are times when accepting our limitations is a better choice than trying to impose our expectations upon creation.

Might be time for a cup of coffee and prayer for wisdom…

H. Arnett

About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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