Mowing the Lawn

June 21, 2010

I love mowing the lawn. It’s wrongly right in so many ways: It’s loud-loud and stinks like gas because I don’t use one of those manual mowers or one of those fancy electric things; and it kicks up dust that goes up my nose; and I wear sloppy clothes and huge sunglasses; and I pile my hair on top of my head; and I sweat, and the dirt sticks to my skin; and the sun beats down and makes me woozy. I drink water from a jar, and keep moving.

The back third of our big yard is the remains of what used to be an overly-ambitious garden I planted with my daughter ten years ago. A garden that I promptly abandoned when the weeds insisted I had encroached on their native soil. They launched a counter-attack and I retreated into my house. These days I just mow the whole thing over. It’s not a garden bed, but neither is it a field of weeds. Weed or grass, the mower is the great leveler, roaring up and down the mounds

It’s that roar that I love most of all. That sound of the engine when I prime it with gas and pull the cord. I want to hear that full roar, and the struggle of the engine when it hits a thick clump of grass. I want to hear these things over the sound of my own nagging, persistent thoughts. The sound covers it all, and then… new thoughts creep in, new ideas spurred by things like the softball I run over by accident, or the tree stump that I must avoid, or circling the firepit where the family gatherings occur…

A nice thing… drowning it all out and listening from within the noise.

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7 Responses to “Mowing the Lawn”

  1. Geoff Woollacott said

    Put on an iPod and try it. Same kind of deal. Wreaking havoc with power equipment that, when done, makes it look better, and the isolation with your own thoughts amid the din level. 🙂

  2. I have to admit, I’m a white noise guy. I love to work in noisy, echo-y places. The droning sound puts me right in the mood.

  3. Not sure why the noise of my own lawn mowing is musical to me, while my neighbours just bug the shit out of me and I cuss and wait it out.

    And, we have a few headless tennis balls, too.

  4. Mary-Ellen said

    I like the noise, but I absolutely LOVE the smell. A task for all senses.

  5. Dale said

    I really can’t stand gas mowers. This is the first time I’ve ever heard a good argument for one. Almost convincing.

  6. Annie said

    I thought I was the only one.

  7. Julie said

    I love love love mowing. When my children were young, it was the time when I could have a bit of time without all of the “mommy!” calls. They would stand on the back porch and as I turned to walk toward them I could see their mouths moving and the looks of agitation on their faces and I could just shake my head.

    When we owned the golf driving range with 19 acres, I would always hope that I would be the lucky one to mow that day. When you mow tall grass, the birds follow behind you to feed on the bugs. It’s almost like being in the Disney version of Cinderella with a parade of birds behind you.

    I miss mowing. Thank you for the memory.

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