Thursday, July 30, 2009

A red mower

When I was a high schooler, my dad decided that I could help mow the lawn every week. I was the prissiest girl on the street and I simply did not mow lawns. As a small girl, I had stepped on a large bee while barefoot and never had the desire to go outside again. Playing on the grass was full of the unknown, so whenever possible I protected myself. Shoes all the time. Blanket forts under the slide so that I wouldn't get dirty nor have to touch creepy bugs. No sweating. So, yeah, you can imagine the mowing idea didn't go over too well.

We had a red pushmower that looked ancient even then. My job was only to mow the front yard, but it was huge! Of course now, going back home I see that it would have taken me 15 minutes tops, but at the time you would have thought it was a field. I remember having serious issues starting that old contraption. You had to pull the chord back fast with some oomph or it wouldn't start. I would get so angry while trying to start it. It hated me, you see. And the darn thing was heavy! A skinny 10th grade girl was powerless to push it fast, so it took me forever to get it done. I grumbled and complained at every turn. Those were long, sticky, humid Indiana summers...

While Dan was out of town, I mowed my own lawn. The grass was threatening to overtake my house, so it had to be done. I've definitely mowed it before--the riding mower is such a treat compared to the red beast of my youth. But that night, I actually enjoyed it! (Dan is now reading this and thinking that he will concoct an evil plan to get me to mow every week, I'm sure). The temps were cooling down, there was a nice breeze and everything was so green. Our yard is surrounded by pine trees and they are getting so tall that it felt cavelike in the yard. I did see my share of creatures: two garter snakes (one I accidentally chopped up) and a big frog. And yes, I did scream when I ran over the garter snake.

It's interesting how years can make the same chore seem different. How age can sneak up on us and instead of hating something, we enjoy it. Instead of our parents taking care of us, we are taking care of them. Instead of mowing the lawn ourselves, we get our kids to do it. The circle of life is really here, isn't it?

My dad recently had surgery and found out he has colon cancer. I stayed at my old home during that time and walked around the yard with my dog. So many memories flooded back: the place where my sister's hamster was buried, the thin line of a garden that hasn't been planted in 30 years, the place where my swing set used to stand, the odd cinder block patio my dad built where the red charcoal grill used to stand, the sound of my sister laughing and running in the yard, the trees that I remember planting that are now taller than the house. It's all there. Where did time go? How can we stand in those places and feel as if it was only yesterday? How can we have the courage to move ahead into the unknown? I'm not sure, but I think it might be lurking just around the corner.