From the Archives of Clergy Clatter

October 2001

Those of you who have been to my house know that many years ago I decided to call it quits with grass, mowing and fertilizing, and allow the site to “re-forest” itself. In my eye, the yard today is a wonderful mini-forest of trees, ground cover, paths and native marsh plants. The down side is a lot of mosquitoes. The up side is that I rarely have to run air conditioning. The house stays amazingly cool under its canopy of trees.

But a nasty problem has arisen. My garage – my playroom – which I labored to build – has become a dining room table for termites. I started repairing trim this summer and found what I thought was “a little rotten wood.” But when I pulled it off, I discovered that for years God’s little termite critters had been quietly munching away – out of sight. Damage is significant.

“Get’em, come quick!” The bug man assured me that he could easily get rid of them for a not-so-easily digestible price, but that I would always be plagued by them until I cut down all the trees and tore up all the ground cover. Agh! And return to grass? He responded, “No – they like grass, too. Asphalt is the only answer.”

It was decision time. Do I destroy my little Eden and my whole domestic quality of life to assure the absence of destructive pests, or do I keep my yard and forever spend time, money and energy trying to control the pests? The answer was easy. I opted for the latter.

Sometimes we have to make these dreadful decisions, as homeowners, business people, parents, clergy – sometimes even as a nation.

No matter how hard I try, and how much money I spend on termite control, I’ll never be certain that a few aren’t eating my garage, and possibly even my house – causing even worse major damage. But I’d rather take that risk than trade in my little forest for a lifeless asphalt pad.



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A compilation of The Rev. Richard O. Bridgford’s most memorable articles from his nearly 25 years at Church of the Epiphany. Enjoy history, humor, nature, travel, and wacky experiences with Fr. Bridgford, his two-legged and four-legged friends! Recall:

  • the New Year’s resolutions he couldn’t keep
  • the year Santa’s elf delivered Baby Jesus to the creche
  • the volcano that threatened his vacation
  • sweet elderly widows and “a little afternoon sherry”

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