Getting the upper hand (or maybe not)

No writing analogy today, just a springtime reflection from my photo journal.


Sunshine spills over the trees to lighten the gardens with a citron glow. Springtime colours smile in mossy lawns, tiny new alder leaves and an abundance of forget-me-nots, violets and periwinkle blooms.

Every spring I rave about the multitude of greens in nature…  and every spring my hubby mutters about the quantity of moss in the lawn!

The surrounding trees keep much of our property in heavy shade. The moss flourishes and in the spring my hubby dutifully power-rakes the lawns to pull out the winter’s accumulation, then collects it with the lawn tractor. Even with the machines’ help, it’s labour-intensive and takes a few days, doing one section at a time. He fertilizes to encourage the remaining grass, and adds lime to deter the return of the moss, but it’s a battle nature usually wins.

One of the neighbours questions our annual dedication to this effort, and wonders why we don’t just let the moss take over. “After all,” she says, “it’s soft under foot, green, and requires no watering or cutting.”

She’s right, of course, but as much as I love living rurally, after years of being a city gal I still need a little ‘citification’ around me… a bit of what my hubby calls “decency and order,” to offset the wildness that constantly encroaches from the surrounding woods.

Besides, there’s still more than enough moss around to keep us aware that it always has the upper hand.


Do you keep a tidy lawn, or are you content to share your green space with moss and other weedy intruders? It’s okay, you can be honest. For all our efforts we’ve never come close to achieving the ‘golf course’ look! Since we’re on a well, we don’t bother to water during the summer either, so the grass is never a thing of beauty.

~  ~  ~


Since when is a writer like moss?

I don’t understand moss. Shallow rooted, persistent beyond belief, it turns up everywhere. It’s in the gravel walkways around our property, taking over the lawn, creeping up trees and hanging from the limbs like gymnasts on a trapeze.

In some places wild mosses are overcollected … varieties becoming threatened. That’s definitely not a problem in my yard. Moss multiplies like dust bunnies (don’t you dare look under my desk!) happily smothering less hardy plants in its wake. We’ve pretty much given up fighting it in the lawn. It’s green, is soft under foot, needs no maintenance and doesn’t require mowing. Bonus!

How it survives the bleak conditions around here is a mystery to me, but it provides a fine example of what it takes to succeed as a writer. Find your niche and then be persistent. Don’t be demanding. Don’t worry when someone rejects you by tearing away a chunk of your soul. Just carry on doing what you’re doing until the wound is covered over and you’re re-established on the path.

Not bad advice, don’t you think?



The photo of moss hanging from branches wasn’t taken at my coastal home but at our Cariboo cabin on a frosty morning. We’ve always called it ‘Moose Moss’ but that’s a misnomer. It may be Alpine Tree Moss but I don’t know for sure.