Thursday, January 29, 2009

Verbs, glorious verbs, January 29, 2009

Prompt: Read this opening paragraph (it's one of my favorites) and write a paragraph in which you employ lively verbs. Notice how Pollan's verbs and prose anthropomorphizes the lawn?

No lawn is an island, at least in America. Starting at my front stoop this scruffy green carpet tumbles down a hill and leaps across a one-lane road into my neighbor’s yard. From there it skips over some wooded patches and stone walls before finding its way across a dozen other unfenced properties that lead down into the Housatonic Valley, there to begin its march south toward the metropolitan area. Once below Danbury, the lawn—now purged of weeds and meticulously coiffed—races up and down the suburban lanes, heedless of property lines. It then heads west, crossing the New York border; moving now at a more stately pace, it strolls beneath the maples of Larchmont, unfurls across a dozen golf courses, and wraps itself around the pale blue pools of Scarsdale before pressing on toward the Hudson. New Jersey next is covered, an emerald postage stamp laid down front and back of ten thousand split-levels, before the broadening green river divides in two. One tributary pushes south, striding across the receptive hills of Virginia and Kentucky but refusing to pause until it has colonized the thin, sandy soils of Florida. The other branch dilates and spreads west, easily overtaking the Midwest’s vast grid before running up against the inhospitable western states. But neither obdurate soil nor climate will impeded the lawn’s march to the Pacific: it vaults the Rockies and, abetted by a monumental irrigation network, proceeds to green great stretches of western desert.

The opening paragraph of the essay “Why Mow,” from Second Nature: a gardener’s education, by Michael Pollan (1991)


Michele said...

Verbs, verbs, a a good exercise.

I prepare to go to my water aerobics class. I don my bathing suit, which seems to be stretched, then find a pair of sweats and at last pull a tee shirt over that outfit. I check to see my flip flops are there in my bag, stuff in a towel big enough to warm me after I get out of the pool, and include a set of underwear.

I search for my leather slides and slip them on. From there I close and lock the door and hustle to the car – twenty minutes to get there.

Oh no, ice congealed on the windshield. I start the car, raise the heat up to 80 and get out, closing the door. I hunt down a scraper and it seems to do no good. The heat slowly rises, the windshield remains frozen. I bolt back inside the house, forgot my ‘phone. Maybe Mike will try to reach me as he does some mornings.

Ice slides down the windshield; the heat warms the car windows. I slip back behind the wheel, punch the button for the radio and catch the end of a short report about mining in Eastern Carolina. Thrusting the gear shift down a notch, I back out and curse the fellow who always parks behind my car. I shift forward and am able to swing by another offending auto.

Down the hill the car glides. Now the Honda and I are one. Stopping at the corner we look both ways. Multiple cars move up and down MLK Boulevard, we are forced to wait.

Now. Move. We swing into the center lane and wait while a UNC bus noses past. It’s our turn. "Floor it" I say and we are racing down MLK to Estes. Hurry. Miss the red light at Fosters and skip around the truck losing leaves as it speeds next to us.

Turn into Estes. Stop! A car and a van have collided. I yell and swear. I have to swim today. Creaky joints speak to me. Eventually, cars start up again and we move toward the light at Franklin Street.

We cross the intersection and I activate my right hand blinker. The “Community Park” sign welcomes us, I wave to a swim-mate as she scurries into the building. We roll to a stop. Breaks squeak. We are here. Honda must endure an hour’s wait now.

Carol Henderson said...

don, find, pull, search, hunt down, bolt, slides, slip, shift, glides.

Lots of great verbs here. Yippee.

Blog Archive