Landscape(ing)

So, our neighbor is mowing the desert.
Some people here do that. Mow the desert like it’s a lawn. They create this kind of short-grass expanse around their houses.
It’s bizarre and strange. Of course, we sold our lawn mower when we left Laramie, with the intention of never having a lawn, or a lawn-like substance again.
I think you can see the contrast in this picture — the tan flat stuff? Yeah.
He came over to introduce himself this weekend. He’s a builder, relocating to work with a buddy between Houston and Galveston. He was planning to mow it down, he said, as part of the house sale. The way it used to be, orginally. I assume that means when he bought it. I’m just hoping whoever buys the house has a different ethic.
The thing is, we know there’s green belt between our property line and his, but he seems to be mowing all the way up to ours. At least he seems to be showing no fits of overly-neighborliness by cleaning up our act as well. Mowing the greenbelt would be a violation of the covenants, but we’re new here. Doesn’t seem right to bitch in our first three weeks.
One of the most ironic bits to me is that some other neighbors of ours relocated here from the East Coast and, over drinks, he was waxing poetic about the Santa Fe landscape, how spiritual and old it is.
A lot of people here do this. I have not escaped the Western Myth.
“Right around the house, here,” he told us, “has been landscaped. But the rest hasn’t been touched for 5,000 years! I’m sensitive to that, walking only on my same paths. It’s such a spiritual thing, thinking about walking on land that is the same as it’s always been.”
I nodded at him, sipped my wine and refrained from pointing out that his pristine arroyo contains septic tanks for all the houses around. They didn’t grow there from septic-tank seeds. Though that would be a nifty invention.
The landscape grows up and recovers. The great Myth of the West is that it’s somehow preserved in this museum-worthy contaminant-free vacuum. It’s not. It’s been fixed up again. Witness our neighbor’s lot, recently made like it was originally.
Time will pass. The winter will come and the grasses regrow. Maybe no one will feel like messing with it next year.
Maybe a cholla will choke his lawnmower.