Theories of Lawn Care

Today is one of those rainy days that traps you indoors along with your sense of adventure and motivation. The rain started sometime while I was asleep, and I wonder if it will be over before I’m asleep again. If not for this rain and the possible tornadoes that forecast associated with it, I would be on the last full day of a backpacking trip in Land Between the Lakes. I’m pretty sure I would have lived to tell about this trip, but I really wasn’t interested in having my entire body, clothing, and gear soaked for about 18 straight hours with still one night to sleep there (plus that heavy, damaging wind stuff in the middle of a forest full of large overhanging branches, blah, blah, blah). So, I resigned myself to week at the house alone, while Allyson was away at a military immersion experience for psychological counselors.

So, this week, I’ve had a bit of spring fever. The last two days have been pretty fantastic weather-wise, and the school boy urges have not left with age for me. When there is weather like this, it seems pretty ridiculous to be doing anything that isn’t outside and adventurous. I have this feeling of being set free when I get to set out walking somewhere on days like these. I exit a building or begin on a trail. I breathe deeper. My pace quickens. I want to soak up everything I can with all my senses. There is an instinct inside me that kicks in that I don’t quite understand. It wants to move. It wants to see things. It wants to move.

I’ve noticed over the past few weeks that mowers have already begun trimming back yards, and that makes me self-conscious of our yard. I wonder when I need to begin mowing and what the yard grass height limit is  before I bring shame on my family. But I can’t bring myself to mow the yard right now. We have a meadow of little white and purple flowers that cover back yard, and it just seems foolish to get rid of them in the name of a uniformly short lawn. I just don’t understand why anyone would choose a boring green carpet of grass over these flowers that you would fawn over if you walked up on them on a park trail. So, I’m leaving them until they wither. Then I can start the 6 month long regiment of grass cutting when I don’t have pretty flowers popping up without any work at all.

Why on Earth would you want to mow this?
Why on Earth would you want to mow this?

I realize that I can hide behind this fascination with my backyard flower meadow to slack my way out of a month of lawn-mowing. For the most part, I feel like manicure lawns are stupid. People rarely get out and enjoy them, and you could put trees there that would make it cooler around your house and put more oxygen in the air. I’m not saying you need to let your yard go back to the wild with thorns and coyote dens all over—I just question the sanity of people who have acres of green grass that they slave to mow all summer, don’t have livestock eating it, and don’t even go out to play croquet, bocce ball, or lawn bowling.

So, my urge to be out trekking in the wilds of nature have been eased by shredding leaves and mulching our huge maple tree in the bark yard. Every now and then, I’ll stop everything just to look at all these flowers. Or I’ll hear two or three doves exchanging coos near sunset. I can hear them out the window even now. This is what I want for my lawn. A small sense of wildness out there to coddle me when the more primitive side of me longs to leave civilization. The wild animals (even if it is just songbirds and squirrels) and these plants that just sprout up on their own accord, remind me that a lot is going on under my nose that I rarely take notice of. Springtime brings out these lessons for us.

The rain as ceased, and the pond-like puddles will slowly sink into the ground. These spring rains kick the budding trees into hyperdrive. Only a few days ago, there was just a light green dust on most trees. After this rain, they are sets of closed fingers on the verge of opening up to reveal the leaves that will shade us all summer long. Each thunder clap, each rain drop brings us closer to a full green canopy. There is a restlessness to nature right now. Every time you look out your window, each time you walk out your door, there is something new that has been pushed out of the ground or dropped from the sky. I feel that restlessness too, Nature. I’m ready to build and to create. I’m ready to see something completely new. But, on days like today, I’m content to stay dormant a little longer to see the show you’re putting on.

I thought this especially at lunch today. I turned off the podcast I had on–a pretty interesting All Songs Considered where they were interviewing the singer from the Flaming Lips http://www.npr.org/blogs/allsongs/2013/04/08/176577450/the-flaming-lips-wayne-coyne-guest-dj–just so I could listen to the rain, hear the birds, and let those sounds mix with the taste of tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, and garlic soaked in olive oil, coated by fresh grated parmesan cheese. These moments of still and quiet, while so many things happen around me. I soak it in. I will turn it into something great soon.

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