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Saturday, April 15, 2017

Spring, a time for rebirth.

Spring is a special time. If the intoxicating fragrance of flowers, the antiseptic smell of freshly mowed grass, the dizzying rainbow of greens don’t move you something is holding the lover inside you hostage. There is such an abundance of life and joy budding on trees, clawing up from the dirt, scurrying through the undergrowth, singing the happy song of life. Listen to the birds, singing, cawing, screeching in every tree, every bush, screaming a litany of joy at just being alive. Spring is the season of hope, and love.

Last year our lawn mower died, and we had to replace it.  I wanted to buy a simple reel style mower, three blades rotating around a circle, slicing against a striker plate cutting the grass in a delicate, gentlemanly way. Powered by me, zero emissions, a machine that leaves more than it takes. My wife said “no, you will hate it.” In all fairness to my wife, everybody said “you will hate it.”  So, we went and bought a gas powered monster, strong, loud and terrifying. It was self propelled enough that you could probably ski behind it.

But, the truth is I hate gas mowers, they are noxious, and unforgiving, tearing the tops off grass with ferocious velocity, hurling sticks and rocks like bullets. I cringe every time that cord is pulled, every time that engine roars to life, spitting exhaust fumes. The awful noise of thousands of explosions every minute, the rumble of internal combustion vibrating all the way up the handles and into me. Shaking my bones, my joints, my organs, shortening my life. Last year, shortly after we bought the beast it stopped working. Sears said it would take four weeks to fix the problem, no matter what the problem was, it actually took five weeks to fix and three weeks to tell us it was a plugged carburetor, and then they wanted to charge us to fix the mower. I will never buy anything from Sears again.

Anyway, while our almost new mower was off being repaired at the Sears Reeducation Camp my friend, John you can read about John here) loaned me a reel mower, it was old and he didn’t use it. John just collects things. But, I used it, and I loved it. It was everything I hoped for in a mower, quiet, efficient, and friendly. I can plug in my earbuds, and rock and roll through my whole yard. If I want to mow early in the morning my neighbors don’t even know, or care. It was the best possible solution. The whole neighborhood quiet, just the barely audible swish of blade against Mowing my lawn with Bob Dylan, even the haunting, intense, painful Time out of My Mind.


I would be crazy if I took you back
It would go up against every rule
You left me standing in the doorway crying
Suffering like a fool.

Early in the morning we walk together, greeting the day, making the grass a uniform height, enjoying the quiet of the early morning, the sun weaving odd shadows on the lawn as it peeks at us through the trees. Almost with a knowing wink, as if he were saying “don’t you two make a cute couple.” We wave, snap a photo of the diffused light reflecting off the leaves and branches and mow quietly away. A symbiotic relationship, working together we mow the yard, I get some exercise, and we are doing our part to save the world.

Even my wife has begun to understand the deep, spiritual relationship we have developed. Last week we were at the Anderson’s going out of business sale (you can read about that here), and as we were leaving she saw a new version of my old mower at 20% off and asked if I wanted it. Of course I did, I grabbed the lovely little machine, and went to stand in line, smiling, humming to myself, happy to be alive. Behind me was a woman, her shopping cart filled with garden decorations, planters and pots, little spades and rakes, a couple of small bags of potting soil asked “how much grass do you have?” Her tone led me to believe she didn’t think I would like the mower. But I do.

One of the things I used to hate about spring coming was the arrival of mowing lawn season. Now, I look forward to our little stroll around the yard, me and my friend, listening to music, cutting the grass and getting some exercise, and saving the world.