Dr. Seuss would have turned 108 today. Like many former children across multiple generations, I have a special place in my heart for Dr. Seuss. I grew up on his books and learned to read at an early age, largely because his books were so catchy and engaging. They also taught me about much more than reading.
The Butter Battle Book taught me about the ridiculousness of the Cold War, even though I was only five years old when I read it. Star-Bellied Sneetches showed me that discrimination based on the way a person looks is absurd. And the lovable Lorax, who spoke for the trees, perhaps made the biggest impact of all. I used to drag my dad to the riverbank on weekends to help me clean up litter. As usual, he gamely obliged, which taught me an even more valuable lesson about supporting the people you love, even if it’s just indulging your kid’s passion of the week (and believe me, there was at least one new hobby/crusade/interest/passion every week).
Now, I’m no Lorax, but I do make my best efforts to speak for the trees (as evidenced by my activist glory days when I literally sat in endangered trees to help save them), and more recently to speak for the lawns. [In-blog update: as I write this, I’m informed that Lou Dobbs thinks the Lorax will turn your kid into an eco-terrorist. I hope he doesn’t try to use that previous statement as proof!] So, in honor of Dr. Seuss’s birthday and in support of the passion of the week that has since blossomed into a business created to make lawn care more safe and sustainable, I have created my own little character. She is called the Envo.
At the end of Fair Lane, in a small cul-de-sac,
lives the Greenler, in a ranch house with three small striped cats.
His lawn is lush green, with flowers and clover,
but the neighbors all wish the wild grasses mowed over.
The Greenler, you see, once had a great lawn.
So great, in fact, his legend lives on.
A long time ago, after a great second war,
the Greenler came home to a tremendous chore.
The lawn was in shambles, up to the front door,
but the Greenler had tools none had before.
The Greenler had mowers and blowers and sprays.
The Greenler, that man, started a chemical craze.
With buzzing and roaring and grumbling and spewing,
The Greenler tamed grass for impeccable viewing.
He killed bugs, he killed worms, he killed moss, he killed weeds.
He even planted genetically-modified seeds.
And his lawn, it got greener and greener, you see.
So green in fact, it caused great jealousy.
His neighbors, they asked how his lawn got so lush.
Well, the Greenler, he showed them. So started the push.
Every weekend was packed with mowers and blowers.
The men, they compared their chemical throwers.
The word quickly spread to towns wide and far.
Soon everyone strove for a lawn above par.
But one little voice spoke up under the roar.
One little voice could stand it no more.
She said, “I am the Envo, I speak for the lawns.”
“I speak for the lawns, for the lawns will be gone.”
“All your mowing and blowing and killing and feeding,
it makes grass look nice, but inside it’s bleeding.
The soil is dying and grass plants can’t live
when they don’t have good soil, with nutrients to give.”
But the poor little Envo, not a soul could hear.
So she went to the next town to find a kind ear.
She criss-crossed the nation, with no luck or joy,
so the Envo, she thought of her own little ploy.
While the neighbors made green grass while killing the soil,
the Envo made hers green with old-fashioned toil.
She clipped and she snipped and she breathed the fresh air,
She gathered the weeds with great love and great care.
She ate all her veggies and composted the scraps,
all the peels and pits and the and old mushroom caps.
And her grass it grew green, it grew tall, and it flourished,
simply because it was naturally nourished.
While the neighbors, their lawns, they started to yellow.
The neighbors, they cried, right down to the fellow,
“You Greenler! My lawn, it’s no longer green!”
And the Greenler replied, “Why, what do you mean?”
“Just spray on more chemicals, more killers, more stuff.”
But the neighbors had had quite more than enough.
“Our children, our pets, our Spot and our Frisky,
can’t play in the yard, it’s just much much too risky.”
“And that Envo, how nice her lawn looks.
She even lays in the grass reading books!
We’re done with you Greenler, your mowers and sprays.
Be gone with you now, and your chemical ways!”
The Greenler pushed on, with his followers following,
With their lawns steeped in chemicals, not one weed was showing.
That Greenler, soon he was rolling in cash,
but one day it hit him, like a jolt, with a flash.
That Envo, that girl, she was on the right track.
A day would soon come when there’s no going back.
All the chemicals, fertilizers, weed killers, and sprays,
would stay on this earth ’til the end of our days.
So the Greenler, he changed. He went organic.
His followers went into a frenzy, a panic.
They sprayed even more, their grass greener and greener,
While the Greenler’s green lawn got cleaner and cleaner.
He thanks the Envo, she spoke for the lawns.
She spoke for the lawns that soon would be gone.
She still speaks today, dear reader, take heed.
There’s only a few things a healthy lawn needs.
It starts with the soil, you must keep it alive
for your grass and your garden to flourish and thrive.
With water and weeding your grass will grow strong.
Add some fresh compost to help it along.
The plan, it is simple, for what it is worth,
to keep a green lawn while protecting the earth.
Just listen for the Envo, she always is near,
always looking for people to lend a kind ear.
Well, a girl can dream, right? Happy birthday Dr. Seuss, and many thanks for the happy memories!