Loving the Lawn is an editorial piece written by Tim Clark and shared with The Ugly Writers under the theme Catharsis: Healing Through Narrative.
Loving the Lawn
Yesterday it was time to mow, again. It comes around, every week, rain or shine, hell or high water, the lawn grows. Each blade of grass reaching skyward, stretching and climbing at their own pace, each one a different height, no order at all. It’s one of the reasons you have to mow, the lawn starts to look disorderly, chaotic, in need of a little grooming. Eventually, I understand, we would have to mow, but until we did it would still look nice.
It was hot, and humid, the sun sat right about the same level as the tops of the trees. There was no wind, nothing stirred, the humidity was thick, and it made walking difficult, more like wading. And I had to fire up a 6 horsepower, self-propelled, CO2 spewing, fossil fuel burning internal combustion engine that turned a steel blade at 3,000 revolutions a minute. There is a frail, thin aluminum cover between me and the blade, but there is no protection from the noise. It echoes through the neighborhood, bouncing off houses, and sheds, calling others to open their garage doors and join in. Soon the entire neighborhood roars and sputters and fumes.
If the noise is bad, and it is, the emissions are worse. Every day I read a new story about flooding or wildfire or excessive deadly heat. Climate change may be the only thing that saves us from nuclear winter, or nuclear winter may be the only thing that saves us from climate change, right now that’s anybody’s guess.
Mowing the lawn is one of the worst things about modern, suburban life.
My wife left to go shopping and I was marshalling my resolve. Bag of sunflower seeds in my pocket, bandana wrapped pirate fashion around my head to keep my hair from smearing sweat all over my glasses, making them streaked, almost opaque, a real nuisance when you’re being dragged behind a monstrous spinning, barely covered blade. Poe could have written about modern lawn mowers, The Lawn and the Machine.
Finally, I had everything in order, and was ready to put my life on the line, or more accurately, on the lawn.
As I was getting ready to pull the rope, start the engine and take my chances, my wife, my sweet, glorious angel came home. She had been to the local superstore, mega market, sell everything from alcohol to weed control store. She found a Scotts, 20-inch reel mower, on clearance, it was less than a hundred dollars, so she bought it for me. Powered by a human, the blade spins politely, and cuts the grass with a caring, kind, little snip, snip sound.
You could almost imagine the mower offering the lawn a hot towel.
All of the sudden I could put in air pods, fire up the Draggin’ the Line, by Tommy James and mow the lawn.
“Loving the free and feeling spirit of
Hugging a tree when I get near it,
Digging the rain and the snow and the bright sunshine.”
It was a little more work. Actually, it was a lot more work. Really, I had to do all the work. Since I haven’t gone to the gym since the coronavirus started maybe a little more work is a good idea. I have a doctor’s appointment on Monday morning, and this will give me a little ammunition.
“Yes, I’m a little overweight, and my blood pressure and cholesterol are a little high, but I’m using a manual, powered by Tim, lawnmower. Getting some extra steps, and some sunshine, and fresh air.”
He will be so happy. He really wants the best for me.
So do I, and I want to mow the lawn without feeling guilty or fearing for my life. If I can listen to some music, or a podcast, or an audio book so much the better. With one small move, one kind gesture, my wife made me understand I enjoy yard work, go figure.
Read more entries under the theme Catharsis: Healing Through Narrative only here at The Ugly Writers: