Friday, May 6, 2016

The Lawn

Mowing my lawn is always an interesting dichotomy.  I often treat mowing as something of a chore… something that I have to plan ahead for as it isn’t a priority.  Because of this, I tend to wait too long before mowing or find excuses to postpone (“oh those clouds look like it may rain”, or “I have some errands to run so I’ll get it done tomorrow).  On the other hand, mowing is one of those things that allows me to get outside and enjoy the spring weather.  Perhaps I’m getting older or perhaps it is just selective memory, but our most recent winter seemed much longer than years past.  Although we didn’t experience record amounts of snowfall, the temperatures and the wind seemed to drag on for weeks longer than it should have, and there were just enough days in the 30s and 40s to tease us into thinking spring was around the corner.  Thus, after a harsh winter I’m happy to be mowing simply because that means it isn’t raining or snowing nor is it cold or windy.  It is just a regular spring day, and that gives me no room to complain.

There is something about a fresh cut lawn – so uniform in height, natural yet maintained, tidy and welcoming.  As such there is always the debate about how much time and energy to devote to that little piece of Earth versus the benefits gained from it.  Many think fertilizing and watering a lawn is a gigantic waste of time not to mention the negative impact upon the environment.  I can’t say as I fully disagree with that notion, and I myself have debated as to how much water should go towards making a lawn “pretty”.  Yet part of me takes pride in looking out across my back yard and seeing a carpet of thick green grass that begs for people to walk barefoot or that beckons us to simply go outside. 

I don’t live next to a lawn-nazi who has turf a golf course superintendent would envy, so it isn’t as if I need to compete with anyone for the best lawn in the neighborhood.  Yet even though it probably doesn’t matter, I do spray my weeds, I do fertilize, I do mow and edge and weed-whack and rake and I’ll even admit it bothers me when I see a dead spot or a thin area where grass has trouble growing.  Am I perfectionist?  Not really – I realize nature isn’t perfect and since I’m not willing to spend 20 hours a week all summer on my lawn, I know it will never be one of “those lawns” that people admire.  It is better than some, not as impressive as others, and I suppose will always struggle from years of neglect by former owners.  Perhaps the only way to ever really fix a lawn is to tear it up and start over, but that is a drastic step that hasn’t found its way on to my ‘to do’ list quite yet.

For now, I’m just going to continue to enjoy what I have and be thankful I don’t have to put too much into it.  I’ll address the major flaws and consider the rest part of the character.  I’ll enjoy the smell of a fresh cut lawn and try to strike a balance between how much green I want on the lawn vs. how much green it will take to pay for the water bill.  I’ll start projects that I need to do or want to do without worrying about a few brown spots, because at the end of the day we all have our blemishes, so the lawn isn’t all that unique.

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