347: Unkempting (Ogden Nash & A Garden)

“This is my dream.
It is my own dream. 
I dreamt it.
I dreamt that my hair was kempt.
Then I dreamt that my true love unkempt it.”
                -Ogden Nash

                Earlier this week a group of us helped my friend Dusty dig up their lawn and make a garden. We spread nine months’ worth of compost from their kitchen, lay down in the sun to laugh and talk and be quiet, and came very close to accidentally cutting what we think is Dusty’s internet cable. It was hiding beneath the grass. I haven’t washed my favorite jeans yet. The knees are still all muddy. My hands are tired. 
                I think one of my favorite moments is when the world, all green and growy, all banana-peel-decaying and slimy and nutrient rich, sidles close and ruffles things. I had planned ‘to work’ those afternoons. Instead I dug up a lawn. I planned to dig. Sometimes instead roots caught at my shovel. Sometimes instead we ate apple pie together, grinning. I tasted some dirt on my thumb. Sometimes we move into houses with lawns, those strange historical artifacts that (as far as I understand) are woven up with signaling class (look how rich I am! I can have these extensive ‘grounds’ and pay somebody to grow nothing on them) and with the fertilizer industry (your lawn should really be perfect green all the time, shouldn’t it?). Sometimes we dig lawns up to try and grow spinach, garlic, corns, beans, and squash. Whenever I stop to notice, the ground is reaching back, unkempting me, my put-togetherness smudged off in dirt and sweat and an evening’s breezes.

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