categories: Cocktail Hour / Getting Outside
I mow as little as possible, or actually quite a bit less than as little as possible. My lawn is only partially grass, and you don’t really need to mow moss, or cinquefoil, or gill-over-the-ground, or white clover, or all those other things probably ever. But to keep the forest at bay, to keep the historical clearing, to keep light on the garden, to make a place for tumbling, and then soccer in the fall, well, you gots to mow. Last year I used 2.5 gallons of gas to do it. The whole summer. But it was dry-ish. Crazy lawn this year. Anyway, this is a mowing poem. The smell, the heat, the boredom, I recall those days forty-five years ago when I mowed the Smith’s lawn for $2.50, and the Holmes’s lawn for $2.00. Neither took me long. You’d walk the neighborhood with the machine, a rotary roar machine, very proud of your status as a working man. Green sneakers, that’s what you’d end up with. And green fingers from clearing the chute. And rocks flying a hundred yards when you nailed them, and the roar. Also the stripes of lawn, 24″ at a time. You worked out the most efficient pattern over time, and knew right where all the stumps and rocks were, and right where the swan hid next to the pond, the one that chased you up the hill in a swan rage. If your sprinted, you could do a two-hour lawn in fifteen minutes, meet your girl for a smooch, and no one the wiser. Today, my friends, I know there are suburban neighborhoods where I’d be in big trouble, but I love to let the dandelions go, the black-eyed susans, the daisies, queen-Anne’s lace, the hawkweed, the fabulous hawkweed, then the grass itself. What’s more lovely than a grass plant in flower? When I finally mow it’s more like haying. But you do have to keep that athletic field open when your kid is 12! She follows the mower doing cartwheels in the fresh. And come morning I’ll rake up the cuttings and mulch the asparagus. It’s a mine, that lawn, and spins gold.
Bill Roorbach has been mowing lawns since 1963.