Tuesday, January 23
Taking Some Pride in My Lions
The first time I saw this house, my realtor and I both giggled at the lions "standing guard" on top of the pedestals at the base of the front steps. Front and center, they were the only bold, black features in a sea of brick, beige, and darker beige.
At that time, the small flower beds on either of them were buttoned up with retaining walls that were 2-3 blocks high. Combined together, the message conveyed was that this house (or at least its owner) took itself very seriously.
I loved the house and bought it anyway, fully intending to remove the lions and replace them with something more welcoming. Abundant, overflowing planters, perhaps. The retaining wall blocks came down quickly and groundcover sedums took their place as edging. I realized that the lions were not going to be evicted as easily, however, when two very strong guy friends--one of whom would later become my boyfriend--couldn't even get them to budge.
The lions may be relatively new to my house (according to one neighbor, they were put in around 2001) but they are fairly old. Based on the mark each one bears, they were poured in the early 1950s. I have a healthy respect for anything that is older than me, and a sledgehammer seemed like an unworthy end for such a noble guard anyway. So I did what any frustrated but sane person would do: I decided to ignore them until a good solution presented itself.
The lions quickly became a punchline amongst my friends, who knew how much I disliked them. I was surprised when I realized this spring that new plantings around the lions have softened their presence and made them more livable. The addition of a bed in front of the sidewalk and the use of darker foliage in the front yard beds makes them take a step back visually. They no longer seem in-your-face in the way that initially irked me.
I admit that I have lately gone to greater lengths to make these lions look more at home. Lions are obviously not native to my sandy shores of Lake Erie, so I am amusing myself by creating a little faux habitat for them. To anyone else, my front garden beds just happen to incorporate a bunch of funky grasses... but when I see the grasses swaying in the wind, I like to imagine that my lions are enjoying their own little piece of stylized Erie shore savannah.
You might have already guessed that these guys are growing on me. In my defense, they have been invaluable in terms of directing people who are coming to visit me--not to mention how they help me find my own home on a daily basis.
So while they still are not anything that I would have picked out for myself, and I am a long way from choosing nicknames for these guys... well, I am no longer plotting their demise or relocation, either. I will leave their ultimate fate to the house's next owner, whoever he or she may be.