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[collected Fri Sep 28 20:01:42 2001]



A discussion with God and St.Francis 

GOD: St. Francis, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world
is going on down there on the Earth? What happened to the dandelions,
violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect,
no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand
drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms
attracts butterflies, honeybees and flocks of songbirds. 
I expected to see a vast garden of colors by now. But all I see are these
green rectangles. 

ST. FRANCIS: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites.
They started calling your flowers "weeds" and went to great lengths to kill
them and replace them with grass. 

GOD: Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract
butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental
with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing

ST.. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and
keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any
other plant that crops up in the lawn. 

GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast.
That must make the Suburbanites happy. 

ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut
it, sometimes twice a week. 

GOD: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay? 

ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags. 

GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it? 

ST. FRANCIS: No, sir -- just the opposite. They pay to throw it away. 

GOD: Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow.
And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away? 

ST. FRANCIS: Yes, sir. 

GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on
the rain and turn up the heat. that surely slows the growth and saves them a
lot of work. 

ST. FRANCIS: You aren't going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops
growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they
can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it. 

GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer
stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring
to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the
ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect
the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance
the soil. It's a natural circle of life. 

ST. FRANCIS: You'd better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new
circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay
to have them hauled away. 

GOD: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter
and to keep the soil moist and loose? 

ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something
which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of
the leaves. 

GOD: And where do they get this mulch? 

ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch. 

GOD: Enough! I don't want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you're
in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight? 

ST. CATHERINE: "Dumb and Dumber," Lord. It's a real stupid movie about ... 

GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis. 

- - - eof

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