Thursday, June 18, 2009


We are nearing that particularly interesting time of Un-Winter when darkness becomes but a memory. Summer Solstice hits on Sunday evening, bringing Alaskans (depending upon their location) 24 hours of blissful lightness in the form of the famous Midnight Sun. Today's official sunrise was at 4:19 a.m., and sunset will commence at 11:41 p.m. with a gain of 5 minutes in light over yesterday.

All this daylight comes with a price, however. Things tend to grow rather rapidly here, giving school textbooks something to talk about besides Oil Money and Sarah Palin. Big cabbages, big turnips, and big grass.

Round about June 1, folks begin to storm into the hardware stores looking for the right machine to scythe and scissor down the grass that somehow appeared in their formerly brown, bare lawns overnight. I kid you not; grass grows an inch over the course of 24 hours, making for an extremely frustrating family situation if certain people are accustomed to mowing but weekly under intense pressure from others in the family with whom they share bed space.

Debate rages in every neighborhood; do we mow once a week and keep the jungle managable yet not manicured, or do we mow as soon as the tracks from the previous mow have faded? Yes, or No, to Mow?

Some neighbors can't hack it; they hire lawn guys who arrive in beat-up pickup trucks holding two or three mowers and as many sundry workers who smoke filterless cigarettes and wear beat-up work pants that won't stay up.

We, for the record, do not, despite my inquiry once. We, I mean I (I took over last year), fall in a category somewhere between stuffy and slacker. I mow every week, and then add in another session if I need an upper body workout, or if we have had rain to increase the rate of growth by another four inches. Or if the neighbors mow first and make my yard look crappy. See where we are going here? There is no winning against grass.

I can take heart, though, for in a short two months the grass will stop growing and be covered with a lovely layer of birch leaves, then snow, which will lie on the ground until next June.

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