A Battle Over Wild Things

A few weeks ago, after our conversation, Next Door Neighbor B. took it upon herself to ask the landscapers to remove – physically and with the help of what I assume are noxious chemicals – the chocolate vine that climbed our trellis and balcony out back. I guess she got it into her head that all the snakes in the New River Valley were climbing it and using our porches as a vacation spot. Or something. I’ll admit that it was a wee bit out of control, but it also produces the most delicious-smelling spring blooms I’ve ever known. And the fact that she did this without asking, informing, or notifying anyone, irks me. Greatly.

Hmm, guess which house is ours?

It turns out that snakes are not the only sign of nature that B. has issues with. She came over to speak with J. earlier, about “doing something” about our front yard, which, in her estimation, is far too wild. She kept repeating how it really has to be to be “cleaned up” right away, so that it looks “neat and tidy,” and went so far as to claim that its current state violates the HOA rules. Landlord P. clearly disliked the orderly, condo-cookie-cutter lawn of this complex, clearly has a love of a diversity of plants and trees. And while I’ll also admit that some of the trees, in particular, could use some trimming back, I find B’s complaints equally irksome and quite puzzling. If not for this yard, we would not have the hummingbirds and house finches and cardinals, the squirrels and the new-resident chipmunk, the caterpillars and praying mantises, would not be able to eagerly await the blooming of another, mystery flower. Is there something inherent dangerous here, in this version of nature – besides the bees and wasps and annoying June bugs – that I’m missing? I’m having trouble understanding why instead we must accept one that is tamed and controlled and trimmed and sprayed, sometimes to death.

Our offensive yard, up close

While we are merely renters, this is one battle I will gladly fight.

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