Report From PIA – December 16
A conversation with a fellow writer, and a walk through Chinatown, started me thinking about my front yard. See, among the stores on Grant Avenue, I spied a garden planted on the front of a building. This reminded me of an earlier phone call, when I was relating to Susan that I’ve seen several front lawns that have been partly dug up and planted in vegetable gardens of late.
It seems to me that we may be on the forefront of a change in attitude about the front of our properties. For decades this bit of land has been pretty sterile…a stretch of lawn, a foundation bed planted with shrubs, and perhaps a tree or two.
The front yard has been for show, not for the actual use of the people who own it, while the places where we grow food, the children play, and we enjoy the outdoors have been consigned to the back.
At Poison Ivy Acres, we had no choice but to put our vegetable garden in the front of the house, because that is where the sun is. Because of local zoning (we’re on a lake) we couldn’t put the shed in the back of the house, so this went up front to. Anyone driving into our property immediately knows that the vegetable garden is important to us.
And why not? Why should interests and usefulness be hid in back, while presenting a bland and boring face to the public? Why waste the sunniest part of a property on lawn, when you could be growing tomatoes, beans, salad greens and herbs? What we do with the land around our houses is largely a matter of fashion, and I’m hoping that a new landscaping style is in the works.
All of this reminds me of something Ram Dass used to say: There’s only us here. In other words, we don’t have to pretend that we’re better than the next person, or that we’re perfect. We don’t have to present that cookie-cutter front yard image all the time because the bottom line is, we’re all human. We have our enthusiasms, talents, and failings, and we’re all (hopefully) doing the best we can. Given this understanding, let’s put what sustains us, and our passions, out front.