Green acres

—Sierra Clubbed

A: Ah, Sierra. Ace, proud American that he is, adheres to popular national slogans such as “bigger is better,” “richer is better” and “thinner is better.” Thus, had higher-ups in the office not challenged Ace’s wisdom, Ace would just have soon assumed that “greener is better” too.

 As with all mortals, assumptions make an ass out of Ace. An urgent call to Dede Smith, director of the Ivy Creek Foundation, revealed to Ace that what you, Sierra, mistook for spraypaint is really none other than what Smith calls that “most common household herbicide” known as Roundup. For those of Ace’s dear readers who think that Roundup is the garden variety of Ronco’s famous hair-in-a-can for balding men, think again.

 Roundup, termed a fairly “innocuous herbicide” by Smith, turns its victims florescent green before killing the little pussycats. Thus, should grass in a designated “natural area” get a little wild, the folks who take care of Ivy Creek keep some Roundup on hand to avoid a potentially Frankensteinian situation. While it may not sound exactly “natural,” rest assured that there are no plans to pave paradise to put up a parking lot.

 Smith explained to Ace that half a mile of the Ivy Creek trail is paved to make it easier for people with disabilities. However, “with time, the grass grows up through [the cracks in the pavement] and in time narrows [the path].” This makes the Ivy Creek path about as friendly to disabled naturalists in search of an easy walk in the woods as the Appalachian Trail was to Bill Bryson. While Smith and Co. first tried weeding, they soon went wringing their hands in the direction of the Parks Department, which is in charge of spraying deviant vegetation.

 The herbicide dosage is annual. According to Smith, about once a year “the situation starts impeding the ability to use the trail the way that it’s supposed to be used.” That’s when the Parks Department suits up and arrives with the Roundup, riffing on Morrissey: “From the ice-age, to the dole-age, there is but one concern, I have just discovered, some grass is greener than others…”

 But Ace digresses. Smith also noted that with the recent rains, the patches along the path sprayed with Roundup had all but lost their greenish, Technicolor glow and life is back to normal. The birds sing; the wind blows; the creek trickles along; and the squirrels throw acorns at hapless hikers. So, take a deep breath. Relax. The Emerald City remains out of reach.

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