Backyard. I often wonder at this term. Is it something we cannot see like our own anatomical rears? Must we hold up a mirror to catch a glimpse of it somewhat like a wart or mole between the shoulder blades? We have this propensity to plant our crops (if we plant them at all) in the backyard, behind the house, away from passersby on the street side that holds the mailbox and the numbers above the front door captive.
What are we hiding? What could be so God awful as a cucumber vine, a bumblebee mining for nectar upside down in a comfrey blossom? I get it, food off the vine not harvested off the supermarket shelf, must be a hazard, or better yet, a virus, a virulent virus of monstrous proportions. Lest the petunias in the window box be overwhelmed and engulfed by “fresh food”, or the lawn become delinquent with the subterfuge of dandelion taproots, or plantain stalks (potent foods and medicines for the taking).
The female gingko in the front yard streams nuts by the thousands every year. “They stink! The skin stinks!” But, isn’t it always what is inside, hidden from view (the backyard), where the buried treasure lies? What is so unbecoming as a ripe plum or peach hanging in all its delectable ripeness in the parkway betwixt house and street? Or a chicken laying an egg, or a Nigerian dwarf goat playfully hopping about like a newborn pup?
Imagine if we turned the tables on the backyard and it became the front yard, and the neighbors, hesitantly curious, plucked that plum and punctured its flesh with teeth accustomed only to plums shipped in from Argentina since childhood?
This is a statement, something worth more than a thousand words, a boondoggle to the code makers, the lawmakers who place chains around life and circumscribe the already diminishing abilities to touch and smell and taste the pleasures of bounty.
There are veils placed over eyes and ears. There are too many backyards written into the annals of suburban and urban history where many treasures lie, unexposed, fenced in, the “fruits” of our labors isolate from the taste buds of all creation.