July Column for MHH: May The Round-Up be With You

thistle            Every protagonist has his or her archenemy, that person or situation that accents the story and provides the conflict necessary to keep the plotline moving forward. Superman has Lex Luthor. Batman has the Joker. Luke Skywalker has Darth Vader and even Bugs Bunny has Elmer Fudd.

I have thistles.

While they may not be quite as dangerous as a mad billionaire, disfigured clowns, sith lords or a speech-impaired hunter who can’t pronounce the letter R, make no mistake about it; these prickly little buggers are on the Dark Side of the Force. They are the super villains of the landscape world, the bane of the growing season and no matter what I do or how hard I try to eliminate them, they keep coming back for more. If I didn’t hate them so much, I would almost admire their perseverance. If you have them, then I know you feel my pain.

I don’t know what I am doing wrong. My parents’ yard was never plagued with thistles the way mine is. Their weeds were limited to dandelions and the occasional maple sprout that showed up after the trees dropped their “helicopters” each spring. The only occasion in which I stepped on something sticky when running barefoot across the lawn occurred when I was six and landed on an upturned thorn from a nearby rose bush. My mother took me onto the bathroom, cleaned the wound, slapped a bandage on it, had my father dig up all of the rose bushes and get rid of them. It seemed like a harsh punishment to me, but it sent a clear message to the ecosystem and nothing stepped out of line again.

I wish I had her panache for making an example out of an untoward plant that would cause the thistles to go away and never come back. Lord knows I have tried everything short of a light saber over the years to get rid of them, but to no avail. I have “whacked” them, cut them, dug them up, poisoned them, covered them, and hired a lawn service to eliminate them, but they have the uncanny ability to hang tough. They have roots deeper than Kunta Kinte and even when I do take the time to get rid of each and every one of them, they possess the power to regenerate and reclaim my property overnight. It’s a little scary. They are a real life equivalent to the hydra, gremlins, tribbles or any other phenomena that threatens to spawn, multiply and take over.

Still, I have to hand it to them. Thistles are a hardy band of rebels with the will to survive. They are the underdogs who stand strong in the face of annihilation, believe there is power in numbers and draw strength from the frustration of their adversary. It is a never-ending battle between good and evil and if you are fighting the same war as I am this summer, then I wish you nothing but the best.

May the Round Up be with you!




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