When is the last time you saw someone standing outside with garden hose in hand watering their lawn? Has hand watering become a lost art with the advent of sprinklers, bubbler's, and other gizmos that can be set to water at the precise time that is best for the lawn and don't revolve around your schedule? In Arizona, having a lawn is considered evil by those going green because of water usage issues. Xeriscape is the new green. Xeriscape is an incredibly beautiful way to landscape when done properly-and I'm not talking about the granite rocks that are spray painted green to mimic the illusion of green grass being planted in the yard.
My father was one of those people who never veered from tradition. He loved the consistency of routine and our lives revolved around patterns; whether it was attending his AA meetings on Thursday evenings, going out to dinner on Friday, or cleaning house on Saturday mornings. When life got out of sync, all was not right with his world. Watering the lawn was one of the many routines in his life that was a constant. Our lawn was always beautiful and would have won awards for its color, clarity and cut-oh wait, those describe diamonds. But, if there were such an award he would have taken home first prize.
Each evening if we couldn't find Pop in the house watching the news, cleaning up the dinner dishes, or polishing his shoes he was outside watering the lawn. It seemed he spent hours outside in his little sanctuary away from the hurry and scurry of life. He was a bill collector and quite intimidating to meet. Once you got to know him though he was like a burnt marshmallow: hard and crunchy on the outside but soft and gooey on the inside. Many nights he would not only be watering the lawn but chatting with neighbors who would wander over to bend his ear about one topic or another. They had gotten a glimpse of his gooey side and wanted to hear what he had to say.
As I stood outside watering my own 'rocks' that have earth friendly low water use vines growing in them, I pondered what drew my father to water? What drew him outside for hours on end to mindlessly spray water onto yard after yard of blades of grass? Certainly there were things to be done around the house and sprinkler would be a far better use of time. I began to think about Pop chatting with the neighbors, encouraging them, or giving them advice. Then, the epiphany washed over me like my dad's well watered lawn. It gave my dad mindless down time from his day. Talking to neighbors about what was going on in their lives gave him the opportunity to set aside the problems in his own life; not forever, but just long enough to gain enough momentum to get through another day. Much like the motto of AA, one day at a time, my dad used watering as a tool to take life in stride- one day at a time.