Anyone who visits me via an RSS reader should hop over for a minute to see the redesigned weeding site. Worth it, I swears.
For advice on weeding, I turned to the greatest literary lawncare manual, Leaves of Grass, the root of America’s desire for the perfect lawn. Just the first, 1855 edition, since I am only an Amateur Weeder.
And limitless are leaves stiff or drooping in the fields,
And brown ants in the little wells beneath them,
And mossy scabs of the wormfence, and heaped stones, and elder and mullen and pokeweed.
For a classic of this stature, the guidelines for weeding are surprisingly vague. It becomes clear that Whitman’s ideal lawn is somewhat different from modern standards.
I swear I see now that everything has an eternal soul!
The trees have, rooted in the ground . . . the weeds of the sea have . . . . the animals.
An ambiguity – how about the weeds of the land, which are the ones I’m harrowing? The irony, however weak, is that I hardly care about the lawn, and positively like weeds. I’m simply trying to bash a neglected lawn into some form meeting the community standard, which, fortunately, is not too high.
The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass, and white and red morningglories, and white and red clover,…
And the appletrees covered with blossoms, and the fruit afterward . . . and woodberries . . and the commonest weeds by the road;
How can I graipple wi the thistle syne,
Be intricate as it and up to aa it moves?
Aa airts its sheenan points are loupon yont me,
Quhile still the firmament it proves.
Just what I have been asking. How can I grapple with the broadleaf plantain, intricate as it is?
I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journeywork of the stars,
And the pismire is equally perfect, and a grain of sand, and the egg of the wren,
And the tree-toad is a chef-d’ouvre for the highest,
And the running blackberry would adorn the parlors of heaven,
And the Whitmanian stanza never seems to end, but finally does, with a girl “boiling her iron tea-kettle and baking shortcake.” Which reminds me, I have to take my pie over to the town pie-judging contest, and I’m not even kidding about that. A buttermilk chess pie. Meine Frau made a peach-blueberry pie.
Please see the comments at Anecdotal Evidence, in which the spooky Ghost of Elberry invokes the greatest thistle in literature, to which I will return, sort of, tomorrow.