In this essay assignment, you are being asked to write about reflecting on your past while applying a compare/contrast expository strategy mode and using one sneaky logical fallacy
Backyards: Old and New
Most of the time I like getting something new—new clothes, new CDs, new video games. I look forward to making new friends and visiting new
places. But sometimes new isn’t better than old. Five years ago, when my family moved to a house in a new area, I learned that a new, neat backyard
can never be as wonderful as a rambling, untamed yard of an older house.
My first yard, behind our older house, was huge, the size of three normal backyards, but completely irregular in shape. Our property line zagged in
and out around old, tall trees in a lot shaped like a large pie piece from which some giant had taken random bites. The left side was taken up by a
lopsided garden that sometimes grew tomatoes but mainly wild raspberries, an odd assortment of overgrown bushes, and wildflowers of mismatched
shapes and sizes. The middle part had grass and scattered shade trees, some that were good for climbing. The grassy part drifted off into an area with
large old evergreen trees surrounded by a tall tangle of vines and bushes that my parents called “the Wild Spot,” which they had carefully ignored for
years. The whole yard sloped downhill, which with the irregular shape and the trees, made my job of mowing the grass a creative challenge.
Despite the mowing problem, there was something magical about that untamed yard. We kids made a path through the Wild Spot and had a
secret hideout in the brush. Hidden from adult eyes, my friends and I sat around a pretend fire ring, made up adventures (lost in the jungle!), asked each
other Important Questions (better to be a rock star or a baseball player?), and shared our secret fears (being asked to dance). The yard’s grassy section
was big enough for throwing a football with my brother (the here-and-there trees made catching long passes even more spectacular), and my twin
sisters invented gymnastic routines that rolled them downhill. Mom picked vegetables and flowers when she felt like it. It seemed like someone, family or
friend, was always in our yard doing something fun.
When all the kids were teenagers, my parents finally decided we needed more space, so we moved into a house in a new development. Although
the house itself was better (more bathrooms), the new backyard, in comparison to our older one, was a total disappointment. New Backyard was neat,
tidy, tiny, flat, square, and completely fenced. There were not only no big old trees for shade or for climbing—there were no trees at all. My parents had
to plant a few, which looked like big twigs stuck in the ground. No untamed tangles of bushes and flowers there—only identical fire hydrant sized shrubs
planted evenly every few feet in narrow, even beds along the fence. The rest of this totally flat yard was grass, easy to mow in mere minutes, but no
challenge either. No wild berry bushes or rambling vegetable gardens were allowed in the new development. No wild anything at all, to be exact.
Nothing wild and no variety: that was the problem. To put it bluntly, the yard was neat but boring. Every inch of it was open to inspection; it held no
secret spaces for the imagination to fill. There was no privacy either as our yard looked directly into the almost duplicate bland yards of the neighbors on
all sides. The yard was too small to do any real physical activity in it; going out for a long pass would mean automatic collision with the fence in any
direction. My sisters’ dance routines soon dissolved under our neighbor’s eyes, and our tomatoes came from the grocery store. With no hidden nooks,
no interesting landscape, and no tumbling space, our family just didn’t go into the backyard very often. Unlike the older, overgrown backyard that was
always inviting someone to play, the new backyard wasn’t fun for anyone.
Over the last five years, the trees have grown and the yard looks better, not so sterile and empty. I guess all new yards are on their way to
becoming old yards eventually. But it takes decades and that is too slow for me. New houses have lots of modern conveniences, but I hope if I am lucky
enough to own my own place someday, I will remember that when it comes to backyards, old is always better than new.