I mowed the lawn this evening, and naturally it got me thinking.
I love to mow the lawn. Though my front yard is a scant 12 or so feet from stoop to curb, and about 20 across, it’s my domain. A domain I painstakingly and laboriously care for.
This postage stamp of a lawn takes me approximately 45 minutes on a good day to properly mow, trim and finish. Part of that is because I was dense enough to purchase an electric lawn mower, which makes sense for how small the lawn is, but I swear to you that next time, I’m buying one that has a battery charge. I have to go to confession for what I say when the cord gets in the way some days.
Tonight it took me an hour and a half as, unhappy with my first pass on the largest part of the yard, I went back over everything to get it just right. If you’re going to do something, do it well. Otherwise, don’t bother to do it at all.
In case you’re wondering, Stacey has occasionally mowed the lawn. I don’t like it when Stacey mows the lawn. Not because her efforts are poor, they’re just not up to my standards. I have exacting standards. I guess that’s come across by this point.
There are a couple of reasons why I’m so obsessive about my lawn, outside of the fact that I’m an obsessive kind of guy.
We may not have much as a family, but a lawn is something that the girls love. They can have picnics on it. We can run around in circles as we play Roo’s version of freeze tag — which involves her never getting tagged or freezing on threat of tears — or I implore Bo to be careful near the stones around the mulched flowers and azaleas.
In the summer we set up the lawn sprinkler and run through it, because sometimes that’s quicker and more fun than the pool. Even though I still have horrible flashbacks of how I got the scar on my left foot. I still don’t have feeling in that part of my foot and my pinky toe has never functioned them same since.
Ah, memories. Ron was there. Probably his fault, too.
The additional reason I’m obsessive is because honestly, my family botched the lawn experience growing up. I still have memories as a kid, looking up at our lawn and thinking, “Why does ours suck?”
I know my parents had demanding jobs, long commutes and all that jazz. But come on man, so do we.
The lawn is your extension of your kingdom. In a way, it’s the first foot you put forward to the world: behold what I have worked so hard to own, and let how I care for it show you how much I appreciate it. I understand how lucky I am to have a lawn, however small it may be, and how much work went into getting it.
I’ll be gosh-darned if it won’t look its best.
Of course, there are people who choose to live in cities or in condos, and don’t have lawns. Of course I’m not judging them. But I do think that if they could have one but choose not to, they’ve robbed themselves of a singular pleasure. Weirdos.
Because as you’re mowing your lawn you can decompress. You can let those lingering thoughts and stresses drift away on those blades as they flit through the air. The outside world disappears with its constant demands. The kids can’t ask anything of you because you’re operating dangerous equipment. And you couldn’t hear them anyway. It’s just you, your thoughts, your prayers and your lawn.
No one can interrupt you with what they think about a movie, or a political thing or some other thing that may or may not have to do with whatever. Even if you took a call, you couldn’t hear it and they couldn’t hear you. (If anyone’s working on a way to make a lawn mower quieter, I will kill them.) Mowing the lawn is a commitment to ignore the rest of the world, and the world can’t interrupt even if it wants to.
Heck yes, that’s a simple pleasure and one I’m glad I have.