Photo Source: Geograph
“We’re tired of trying to grow tall only to get cut down.” complained the grass out loud to anything that would listen.
“Us too.” answered the hedges.
“Me as well.” chimed in the tree.
Once a week, the crew from Tom’s Landscaping Company drove to old Mrs. Hudson’s and took care of her property. They arrived like clockwork every Friday morning at nine. The crew would mow and weed whack the lawn, trim the hedges every other week, and occasionally prune the Oak tree in the back. Afterward they took a small break, then drove to the next job.
The lawn hated getting mowed. It was painful. They strove to grow as tall as they could but were always cut down to a few mere inches.
The hedges thought the same as the grass. They wanted to expand as wide as possible, but the landscaping crew saw to it they never grew out of their rectangular shape. It was maddening.
The Oak tree standing in the backyard was only pruned once in awhile, but still hated it. The tree’s opinion was the same as the rest of the greenery on Mrs. Hudson’s property. But being plants, there was not much they could do to stop it.
None of them ever voiced their complaints before and were surprised the others had the same opinion. They knew of some plants in other yards that viewed their own weekly trimming like humans viewed getting a haircut. “I’ve been around awhile and I’ve never seen any plant here avoid being trimmed and cut. Only wild plants are left alone, most of the time.” said the tree.
“What do you mean, ‘most of the time?’” asked the hedges.
“This is Mrs. Hudson’s property and we are under her protection. I can’t count how many times I’ve heard her yelling at neighborhood kids to, ‘stay off my lawn.’ But wild plants don’t get human protection. They’re on their own.” said the Oak.
“Still, there must be something we can try to stop the weekly torture from the landscapers.” said the hedges.
Then the grass got an idea and said, “What if we just stop growing. There’ll be nothing for the landscapers to do. They’ll have nothing to cut.”
“That’s a great idea.” exclaimed the tree and hedges at the same time.
They immediately stopped growing. The plants were excited and wanted to see what the landscapers would do. They almost looked forward to next week’s visit. The plants hoped to see baffled expressions on the crew’s faces when they arrived finding nothing to do.
“We should tell the other yards and see if they want to join in.” said the hedges, excitedly.
But the plants around Mrs. Hudson’s property did not listen. They called the idea, “Ridiculous” and, “Stupid.” Shaking their heads, the plants in the other yards turned away and wanted nothing further to do with them.
When the landscapers arrived the next week they found it strange that nothing had grown. The plants were clearly not sick. But without anything to do, the landscapers shrugged and went to the next job site.
The Friday after that was the same. Nothing had grown. After looking around the yard a few minutes, the landscapers drove away.
Several weeks passed and the landscaping crew no longer bothered coming to check the property. The lawn’s plan had worked and they were victorious. Though happy about not getting trimmed anymore, the plants were beginning to feel sick.
“I don’t know what’s wrong.” complained the lawn.
“I feel just awful.” said the hedges.
“I’ve never been this ill before.” said the Oak.
All the greenery on Mrs. Hudson’s property moaned and groaned. They got so loud they began annoying the neighboring yards. “Just what are you all whining about this time?” asked the Maple tree next door.
“We don’t feel so good.” explained the Oak.
“I’m not surprised.” replied the Maple.
“You were all dumb enough to stop growing. Do you think that’s healthy?”
“We were tired of being tortured every week with lawnmowers and shears.”
“Life grows no matter what. Only dead things are static.”
“But we’re tired of pain.”
“There’s no life without pain. How could you forget such a thing?”
Mrs. Hudson’s yard went quiet, sulking.
“You’ve all been coddled too much. I mean, all the other yards knew your plan was stupid.” explained the Maple tree.
“Why didn’t you tell us what would happen?” sniveled the grass.
“Everyone knew you wouldn’t listen, so we didn’t bother wasting our time.”
“I don’t think that’s what’s making us sick. It’s got to be something else.” said the Oak, stubbornly.
“Wasting my breath.” the Maple mumbled to itself, turning away.
Time passed and slowly Mrs. Hudson’s lawn turned brown and died. The hedges died a week later after turning brittle and losing their leaves. Despite witnessing what happened to the others, the Oak still refused to grow.
The tree outlasted the rest of the yard by a year before finally dying. Poor Mrs. Hudson had no idea what went wrong with her yard. Sighing, she called Tom’s Landscaping and had everything dug up and replaced.
W. M. Pienton is a part time freelance writer and full time bibliophile. His influences are, John Bellairs, H. P. Lovecraft, Lord Dunsany, and Neil Gaiman. Along with writing he likes to draw and occasionally play guitar. When relaxing, he likes a good whiskey or scotch. Sometimes he will sit on his porch and smoke his pipe (tobacco only) and watch the world go past. He resides in Southbridge Massachusetts.
If you would like to check out more of Pienton's work, you can find his book here.