F YOU WALK THROUGH my neighborhood, you will notice great variety
in the front yards of the houses. For that matter, you notice
great variety in the back yards too, if you know the people well
enough to go back there or if you're a burglar. Some of the yards
are plain--just a sidewalk, maybe a concrete driveway, a tree
or two, and grass. Others have a variety of windmills, bird feeders,
statues of animals or saints, boulders or rocks, and flower gardens.
We sort of wear our front yards on our shirt-sleeves, to terribly
mix a metaphor (and to split an infinitive).
Is it that our front yards are how we want people to see us, and
our back yards are how we really are? There may be something to
consider here. And inside the house, the living room is for how
we think people think we should be, and the family room is for
how we really are. Just as our body has a skin to cover up its
ugly internals, and clothing to cover up the unseemly parts of
the skin, we seem to have to arrange our houses and lots in a
dualistic fashion--one part the facade, and the other part the
"We sort of wear our front yards on our shirt-sleeves, to terribly
mix a metaphor (and to split an infinitive)."|
Some folks go to great lengths to keep even their family rooms
very presentable to the public, while others may have living rooms
that look like a used stable, so we have these exceptions to the
internal-external phenomenon I have been developing here. But
there's always something, even in the homeliest of homes, that
is meant to be presented to the public--a bowling trophy, a picture
of the family (after all, we know what we look like), a mounted
muskie, or whatever other thing we might be just a bit proud of
and want to display to the world.
Next time you take a walk around a neighborhood, notice the front yards.
You will see some of the most pampered grass and some of the most
"natural" grass. You will see the yellow beauty of dandelions
in some, and the healthy green evidence of weed killers in others.
Some yards will be full of happy children, while others will be
silent and empty. Some will have grassless cracks in the sidewalk,
while others will luxuriate with various weeds sprung from whatever
last year's wind blew in.
"We are both our front yard and
our back yard. We are the external and the internal."|
In a way we are our yards. We are both our front yard and
our back yard. We are the external and the internal. Most people
walking by see only half of us (our front yard), but if they look
deep inside themselves, they see our back yard too, because they
know what their own looks like. I pick this little dandelion from
my back yard and offer it to you.