Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Half a Meadow

To reach Franklin Farm I clamber over a fence and into a greensward bisected by a paved path. Most summers the flanking land is left to its own devices. Queen Anne's Lace, oatgrass, milk weed and timothy spring out of the clay-packed soil, and by midsummer these grasses sway waist-high in the breeze. I look forward to the meadow as I would an old friend.

But this year the mower is much in evidence. Though patches of land are still wild and free, most of it is tidy stubble. At first I thought it was just the first strafing of the season or that it was growing more slowly than before. But now, well into June, the truth is evident. What we have in Franklin Farm is half a meadow — and that's generous.

Is the neighborhood safer without swaths of tall grass through its heart. Maybe, though I doubt it. It is quieter without the buzz of insects and chirp of the red-winged blackbird. It is less arresting to the eye. And it is, sadly, less a place.

Still, half a meadow is better than none at all.


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