I think my father's house is the only one on Cape Cod that is not all decked out in fresh mulch. I notice things like that, and mulch is something I've been focusing on for now, the second spring season in a row. Why? I have no idea. Maybe it's the name, mulch, which sounds like some kind of bodily function or maybe it's just that everyone does it and a lot of people talk about it. "I spent last weekend mulching" or "I have to stop at the Kmart and buy some more mulch" or "Whew, I'm so glad I am done mulching!" Maybe it's me, but I can't recall anyone else ever saying "That stuff stinks!!"
Okay, so I'll admit, there is a reason why I am writing about mulch. I don't get up and out of my house by 6:30 to walk around the neighborhood for nothing. I like the exercise, it makes me feel so much less guilty for the rest of the day, but I also have lots of time to think and to find sources of inspiration when I walk. Who woulda thunk......mulch, the object of my desire, the hot topic. Makes me think perhaps I am in need of a bigger life.
What is the purpose of this stuff that looks like a cow chewed, digested and crapped it out? It comes in a few different shades of brown and some of it, so ripe it really smells like it is laced with freshly manufactured manure. Good way to get back at your neighbor who mows his lawn before eight o'clock in the morning. Day One of that mulching and everyone is brought to their knees until the end of the week when either one's olfactories become re-adjusted or when the aroma dissipates on its own. Whatever. How much does this stuff cost? Do they have mulch loss-leaders, storewide competitions?
Do you call up a mulch farm and have it delivered? I can't imagine putting it in your trunk. Maybe there's a mulch truck that visits the area every year?
Mountains of mulch seem to dot the local landscapes from April through May. They sit, waiting on driveways, on grass free areas of house fronts. I picture men in Osh-Kosh overalls, attacking the piles with pitchforks in the middle of the night. Here today, gone tomorrow. Where? On the ground, covering every square inch of area that is free of any other growing specimen. Around trees, lamp posts, house foundations, groups of daffodils on the front lawn. Cover it up. Hide all the flaws. Throw some more over there. Layer it. Higher, higher. Everything looks better with a few layers of good, high quality mulch. Not a weed in sight. Greens, reds, blues, yellows, all the flower colors pop right out. Even the wild flowers look great. One could easily fall in love with mulch and not let go. "Hello Mulch, how do you do?"
I envy writers who could turn this mulch over with their very own pitchfork, who could make this all fit so nicely into a metaphor with mulch having its place in a literary sense Perhaps the mulch would become that which we use to cover up all of our flaws and transgressions. Those talented people probably would write about how the winter of our lives fills with the bitter winds of cold realities. How, at times, the weeds of our imperfections can become firmly rooted and nurtured by slips of our tongues. They would compare the cold, dry patches of earth to the desolate errs of our ways. The winter, to our disconsolation, our ability as humans to give up and give in all too easily.
At the very least, I think it would just be perfectly lovely (and useful) if we could cover ourselves with high quality mulch at bedtime and awaken the next morning looking neat and tidy with all of our best colors standing out for all the world to see and enjoy. I, for one, would chose the non-smelly brand.