Yes, I took the weekend off - well, not exactly, since I sold coffee all weekend long, but I took a writing and thinking break... and I've been a little slow to get restarted.
The heat finally broke sometime last night, as Hurricane Bill finally pulled the hazy humidity out to sea behind it (after flooding rains on Saturday afternoon in Westchester County), and so I could finally do a regular task this morning... mow the lawn.
Like many weboys my age, I have a lifelong enmity with lawn care. We were the last generation, or so Ifind, of suburban youth where weekend awn mowing was the teenage version of slave labor: paid nothing, or possibly subsistence wages called "an allowance" we were forced for hours at a time, to plow fields of a half acre or more, strewn with vines, flower gardens and whatnot.
Opposition to lawn mowing was one of my real efforts at rebellion - I didn't have the temperament or the energy for it, and (as I try to explain to this day), my 16 year old girl mentality didn't see why "because you're a boy" answered my preferences for shopping, reading magazines and styling my hair.
I still have that girl in my head.
But I am older, the lawn is smaller, and now I find lawn mowing to be a surprisingly serene act: orderly rows fall beneath the blades, and a lush green carpet replaces an unruly field. My one weakness is that I like to have something to show for mowing the lawn... so it generally gets extremely overgrown before I can muster the will.
And then, too, I find myself wondering why we need so much open lawn - I have been advocating a switch in the backyard to make it more of a garden, which I feel is what it wants to be - now that I've seen the lush, overgrown meadow that grows up where grass, generally, won't, I think the yard is teling us something... if we choose to listen. And in middle age, I find listening to nature, heeding its directives and not ours to tame the wild, to be the more compelling choice.
I also have to admit I am grateful that we have a lovely neighbor, just now, who lends her lawn mower for our use (in exchange for a cooperative arrangement where I hit her yard too). My mom will not relent in her belief that a small manual push-cutter can get the job done... though it can't. In my youth, I may have argued more but resentfully followed through with her wishes. These days, I find myself being just guy-ish enough to prefer the call of power tools with loud motors, after whicvh one can retire to watch the game in the den. Although we don't have a den. I get the appeal though, now. Just like I get the sense of accomplishment that comes, when the lawn is done, and I can smell the fresh scent of newly cut grass. Simple pleasures on a summer afternoon... in the haze of summer lawns.