"The grass withers and the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever."
-- Isaiah 40:8
I don't know the exact unemployment figures for Westerville, Ohio. But judging by purely anecdotal evidence accumulated via numerous daytime walks through the 'hood, I think I can safely state that there are an abnormally high number of middle-aged men who have too much time on their hands. This is because I see them out puttering in their lawns on weekdays at 10:00 a.m., at 2:00 p.m., spreading mulch, whacking weeds, and mowing in various geometrical patterns; activities normally reserved for Saturday mornings. As a result, even though overall income and retirement savings are down, and people may not have enough to eat as they sit in their about-to-be-foreclosed homes, the various bluegrass, fescue, and rye permutations found throughout the greater Westerville area have never looked more impressive. This may be the high renaissance of suburban lawn care.
The striped pattern is particularly noteworthy this summer. Using a closely guarded technique, some homeowners have mastered the art of mowing alternate rows at different lengths. This produces the striped pattern shown above. It's a hell of a lot of work -- you have to change the height of the lawnmower wheels after every row -- but the breathtaking visual impact is undeniable.
Others have perfected the art of mowing in concentric circles, as shown to the left. This, of course, requires a relatively square, open, treeless lawn where one can spiral out to one's heart's content, but given the proper lawn configuration the results can be quite dramatic. It's a little tough to see the circles up close, but when viewed from, say, a glider or hot air balloon, the effect is scintillating. The oval pattern offers a slight variation on this theme, and can be used for a more rectangular lawn to produce a series of parallel egg shapes, a particularly appropriate pattern given the number of chicken farms just outside the city limits.
Most dramatic of all is the checkerboard pattern shown to the left. It's the ultimate in commitment to lawn care. Not only does the proud homeowner have to mow regularly, but he/she then has to mow again almost immediately, at a 90-degree angle to the first mowing. But look at the results of the prodigious effort; here is a lawn that is suitable for both chess and checkers, for foursquare, even for financial spreadsheets if one is willing to add hand-lettered headers to the columns up near the front of the house. The versatility of such a lawn is virtually unmatched.
It's a glorious time in the neighborhood. Come by and see these and other astounding feats of lawn care before the banks take over and it all turns to weeds.