I just finished mowing my lawn for the first time this spring. It was not a pleasant experience even though it’s a beautiful day, the sun is shining, and the temperature is perfect (61 degrees) for such things. I use an electric mower with a cord, not batteries. I must constantly monitor the cord’s location so I don’t cut it with the mower blades and also so I don’t trip over it. I had finally mastered the use of the mower last season after having developed an efficient and fairly safe method to deal with the cord. Do you think I’d remember that method through a grueling and depressing winter? No way. So there I was today, stumbling over the cord and constantly tugging on it to keep from running over it.
Then there are the weeds. Yes, I have weeds. Perhaps a ton of them altogether. Down close to the pond I’ve been overrun by clover. Up higher, near the house, are weeds whose identity is a mystery. They probably came with the bales of straw I bought from Hilger’s Market when I seeded some bare spots last year. Most have pretty little flowers that are so cute when seen very close up but so ugly when seen from a few meters away. I have bare spots too, especially where the grass hasn’t taken well and where excavations have left divots. Seeing a lawn from a distance sure helps one deal with all its defects and inconsistencies. Mowing the grass puts one close enough to cause anguish and exasperation.
I must steel myself against such emotions. I have pledged to myself not to take my lawn seriously, and not to take the lawns of my neighbors seriously. They are all jokes, in a way. Like jokes, they represent attempts to temporarily divert one’s attention from the more serious side of life by offering a brief and surprising bit of incongruity. They are unnatural patches of extravagance. They come and go, and go much more easily than they come. They require an inordinate amount of attention if they are to remain. I have other things to do with my time. I will cut the grass and snap off the dandelions, but that’s as far as I’ll go. If it looks green from across the street, that will do.