To Mow or Not to Mow
My decision to mow is no longer dependent on if the machine will start, or if the blades will avoid each other long enough to do their job, or if the belt will remain in its position in one piece. I could go on with the issues that have plagued this gal when it comes to operating the mysterious equipment that is supposed to make my life easier. After all, I am not aiming for a manicured lawn; I am just trying to tame the jungle that gets closer and closer to the house every growing season. Thankfully, this spring several magnificent, mechanical male minds managed to make my mower avoid a myriad of malfunctions in one mowing season.
Because of that, I have a new appreciation for the Zen of mowing. Once sunscreen is applied, bug repellent is used, hat is located, cold drink is prepared, phone is checked, pets are secured, I can hop on the riding mower and find the zone that magically mows away worries. My mind must remain alert to avoid the many stumps and rocks and branches and flowers that I can see while staying focused for clues of all those potentially troublesome obstacles that I can’t see, the ones that could spoil my mindful meditation.
It can be just as meditative to watch an operator of a zero-turn mower. I don’t particularly like watching a ballet, but I do appreciate the majestic musical movements and the talent and training involved in the performance I see on stage. The movements of a zero-turn are just as majestic, and having tried once to use such a mower, I do appreciate the talent and training involved in using one to its maximum potential. It is like watching a wilderness waltz as the mower whips around spindles of fruit trees and spins around boulders and barns so close that no weedeating is necessary, all seemingly to the rhythm of a melody that only the driver can hear as he sways and dips to the mysterious melodic strains. Mind-boggling the speed and accuracy that some operators have mastered.
There is no meaningful method to my mowing. I have learned to maneuver the not-so-steep ditch banks reminiscent of the last roller coaster ride I took. I may start in the back yard, or I may start in the front, or I may start around the garage. Some sessions I manage to get closer to the trees so were I ever to power up the weedeater, I wouldn’t have quite so much to tackle. And I may not get to the whole yard all in one day. When one mows slowly to keep the chiropractor happy, and when one mows with the deck raised as high as it will go to keep the timed blades happy, progress is at best minimal. But I think it’s fun.
Mowing remains my favorite manner of meandering through my mind when I am in the mood to muse over the marvels of life.
I wrote this for my Close to Home column in an August, 2015 issue of the Prospect-News, the local weekly in Doniphan, MO.