Garden Diary: Mowing the lawn

Today I mowed the lawn.

It's incredible that I have a lawn to mow. I suppose the novelty will wear off. In the heat of summer, the delight of raking, and walking my push-reel mower back and forth across the width of the house, and gathering up the precious green clippings for the compost ... In the heat of summer, all this will be more of a chore, will require me to get up earlier in the morning, before it gets into the 80s, and 90s. But for now, when it's still possible to catch a cool day without rain, it's still a pleasure.

And I got to use my new toy: The cordless weed whacker. The grass in the median strip between the sidewalk and the street was heavy and wet from lack of mowing and the rain of the past few days. It's too choppy and trashy to use the push-reel. The heavy grass drained the battery of the whacker, but I got it done. I just didn't get to finish edging with it before the juice ran out. Another day for that.

Mowing the lawn puts me out with my neighbors. Across the street, some neighbors were doing the same with their lawn: whack, push, rake. Then I saw them trying to get a plastic bag out of a tree in their front yard. First the rake. Then standing on a plastic deck chair with the rake. Then a step ladder and the rake. Increasingly precarious. When one of them left to find another tool, I stopped my mowing, went to the garage, and got my pole-pruner. As I crossed the street toward them, they practically cheered me on. Standing on the ground, I extended the pole completely, snipped the small branch snagging the bag and brought it, and the bag, down. They told me the bag had been there for over a year! Introductions all around ...

Then there was my elderly neighbor down the block who walks the dogs who "don't like men." I think they would like me, if we were given the chance. I walked her through the gardens and showed her what was blooming, answering her numerous questions about what things were. I showed her what's coming up, what weeds there are I need to deal with, what's going to bloom later in the year. I gave her some Hosta and bachelor's button from my garden for her to plant in her yard. I'll give her some Iris when it finishes blooming.

All this from mowing the lawn. And more. On March 28th, during a difficult day, I wrote:
... I sat on the front steps, in the sun, trying to calm myself ... As I sat I saw a woman and three children walking up our block. The woman and one child walked on the sidewalk. The other two children alternately walked and ran across the lawns between the houses and the sidewalk. Children running on grass ...

I thought that, when they saw me sitting on my front steps, the might move to the sidewalk, and I would invite them to continue running across our lawn as well. I needn't have bothered. When they got to our yard, they continued across our lawn without visible pause or hesitation. The older barely regarded me. And on to the next lawn.

After they passed, I came to tears.
And so I weed, and mow, and rake, with gratitude.

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