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Mowing the Lawn

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Few things on earth give me more joy than mowing the lawn in the middle of July. It is sweltering hot outside, and my senses are in tune to every miniature detail. The bright emerald of the grass contrasts perfectly with the deep summer blue of the sky, just as God designed it. The smell of summer - warm rain, buggy grasses, musty dirt, and blossoming flowers - mixes perfectly with the tart scent of key lime pie wafting from the kitchen. I can see the snow-topped, blue forested Rocky Mountains less than ten miles from our lawn. The nervous excitement of the summer storm on the horizon prickles my skin. These are just a few of the things I sense when I am mowing the lawn.

The Meadowlark’s trilling song mixes with the intense rushing of the water through the stream near our house. I am hesitant to start the lawn mower because of the beauty of the summer noises. Our puppy teasingly nips at my toes with his sharp baby teeth, and I wriggle away, laughing. We engage in a lighthearted tussle, which he wins, and licks my face. I pick him up and take him inside to keep him safe from the mower’s jagged blades, which he does not yet know to fear.

As I walk out onto the overgrown and scraggly lawn, I can feel the soggy moist dirt underneath my toes. Although I earnestly want to walk around in the grass barefoot, I have heard too many stories about teenagers losing limbs from mowing barefoot, so I am always careful to wear my sneakers. As I tug my socks on over damp feet, I take a deep breath and smell the summery vegetation I am about to groom. I awkwardly heave the lawn mower’s starter cord up several times before the engine catches and begins it’s comforting roar.

In my mind, I design a mowing pattern. I decide to mow in circles and make our lawn look like a kaleidoscope. I have to work to get the mower started, but after a few struggling attempts, I successfully begin the first strip of grass. Up and down the lawn I go, working hard to push the old-fashioned mower without self-propulsion. There is something special about a traditional lawn mower - one that makes the driver do all the work. There are some patches in our lawn with thicker grass, and the mower and I have to work extra hard to make it through these spots. It barely spits out all the old shavings in time to cut some new ones. Round and round we go, occasionally reversing directions so I do not get dizzy.

After a while this becomes routine, and I put myself on autopilot. I dream of jumping in the pond when I am finished. Swimming through the cool water and feeling the slippery mud in my toes will be a welcome relief after the strain of mowing the lawn. I cannot decide whether I should do this or go inside and enjoy some of Mom’s fresh squeezed lemonade first. I believe I will get a drink first - just in case I get dehydrated and can’t swim very well. A droplet of sweat runs down my back and tickles me back to reality. I am nearly finished and have just one circle left.

As I let go of the handle and turn the lawn mower off, an encouraging sense of accomplishment comes over me. I have succeeded at an immense undertaking, considering our lawn is more than three acres. When September comes, and I am no longer allowed this joy, I will look back at the summer and wish I could mow just once more. In March, the approaching spring will entice me to stare out the window each day and imagine the grass growing just a little bit taller, begging to be cut. This alone will get me through the next two months before I am able to begin my pleasurable task once again.



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