Why do I like to mow the lawn (with a little history thrown in). . . .
First, the history:
I have been mowing lawns with a riding mower since I was 12 years old, which means I’ve had 48 years of experience so am well qualified to answer all questions about mowing the lawn on a little gas-guzzling, carbon imprinting lawnmower (Cub Cadet and Sears being the machines I’m most familiar with, though I admit to some envy when ours is broke-down and I use our neighbor’s John Deere). . . .
When I mowed the lawn as a 7th grader living in the country outside of Oberlin, Ohio, our house on Peasley Road was surrounded by mother-14 owned acres of woods and meadow. Of these, some number of acres were mine for about 6 hours on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the spring and summer. That’s an estimate, but I suspect my mother sighed a big breath of relief when her little drama-hungry girl settled down on her ride-n-cut for the day. I mowed in South Amherst (where Peasley Road is officially) until I graduated from high school in, well, go Falcons! Suffice it to say the Stones were showing some sympathy and the Beatles were just on the brink of drugs and all you need is love and Lucy in the sky, you get the picture. But as a 7th grader, I was probably listening to “To Sir, With Love” and the Turtles’ “I think we’re alone now”….you get the idea.
And I was. But as an only-child, I did not really want more time alone. When I was not mowing, I wanted to be WITH MY FRIENDS…my neighbor Judy Dohanes and her cousin Nancy Callier, Teresa Sivinski, Ruthann Bechtel, girls who lived in their own country worlds. But when I threw my leg over my trusty steed and turned the key, I was okay with alonedom, and even loved the time to mull over and meditate what was most assuredly some serious stuff.
That was the beginning, and it is to those years that I return when I clambor on board now and mow our 1.4 or so acres. This is the season when once a week is almost not enough, before the droughts set in. But to the point of this post. I like to mow because:
1. I have to be alone. It is too loud, this mower, for me to both mow and converse, so go away. I am meditating.
2. Every round releases the smell of fresh-cut grass laced with wild onion and garlic.
3. I see the lawn in new ways–or rather, I see trees and bushes in passing but with the attention required not to mow them down. I would never have seen these worms if I hadn’t been riding beneath them:
4. Now that I have granddaughters, they like to ride with me, and today my four-year-old and I went round and round in circles, she looking over her shoulder to laugh with me when we had to duck the cedar tree’s low-hanging branches.
5. Despite my inclinations toward wildness and meadows, I LIKE the feel of cut grass on my feet. I like the way it looks, at least when it is green because Nature has said, “be green,” and not because 1/4 mile down the road the Earth is sucking for water.
6. Finally, at least for now, I like to mow because it gives me an excuse to pull my camera out and prop my 4-year-old g’daughter in front of the azaleas, because, heave a sigh, the yard is mown, and we can now enjoy the day. . . .