BUD, SWEAT & TEARS

Cabin south of the main house
Cabin south of the main house
looking towards huge 1905 pole barn from main house
looking towards huge 1905 pole barn from main house

Mowing under the influence!

BUD, SWEAT AND TEARS by K Novelli

The front ‘lawn’ of our home is about 2.5 acres of green, green grass. Beautiful to behold, it spreads out in all directions as one approaches the house. On both sides of the long driveway, magnificent waves of lush, thick sod, are swept in undulating movement that cause it to appear to dance in the wind while casting sun rays about on dew moistened blades. WOW! It is something to see; I think of “amber waves of grain,” and realize, perhaps for the first time, just what the writer saw in the graceful movement so beautifully described as I watch the ever changing landscape of my front yard.

This green expanse is always in need of maintenance. Now that spring is fully here, the lawn grows just like everything else in SE Kansas….fast and with no holds barred. Once it begins, the lawn must be mowed on a weekly basis or it threatens to overtake the property, growing in spurts overnight, it seems, to unimaginable heights. A jungle threatens if we are not ever vigilant with mowers ready. After all; Kansas is known for it’s “tall grass festival” which celebrates the beautiful wild grains which grow in abundance everywhere and this seems to also be the case with the more tamed yards in Kansas.

So far, we have tackled this beast using manual, human propulsion gas mowers. The type that require continual pushing and heaving. I take the north side, Al does the south. We both work for three hours until each side is finished. Though riding mowers are the big status symbol here, we haven’t given in to that convenience….yet. It’s funny to see large men on even larger power driven mowing machines, maneuvering their huge grass eating behemoths over postage stamp sized yards. Zero turn capability is also a big thing in SE Kansas and I can see why given that most of the lawns being mowed are no larger than an average sized residential lot. There are, of course, other huge green carpets of lawn like ours which require such devices….they are the smart folks who ride those lawn choppers.

But we, hearty and hale youth oriented Californians, are challenged by this project and take great pride in our ability to hack and hew on a more personal level. To date, Al and I remain committed to tackling this burden using brute strength and diligence.

I think it’s kind of like choosing to drive a manual stick shift versus an automatic….just a little more hands on, close up and personal. Sweating and laboring under sunny skys, we continue our task with a momentum which must not be broken until we have, at least, conquered a good portion our job. Residents on our street drive by during these times.

I think the neighbors and passersby believe we’re nuts! I think they’re right.

It doesn’t hurt to stop for a second between 1 to 1 ½ acres to partake of a cool, cold brew. My choice is always Amstel light but, if that’s not available well, I’m in BUD country and so, when in Rome…..

There’s nothing like a cold beer when you’re hot and sweaty and the sun is beating down like a heat lamp gone ape. If taken on an empty stomach; so much the better. The second half of the day’s chore is soooooooo much easier!

I’m a very light drinker. Meaning….one beer and, as my older brother always says, “Kathy, you could solve the worlds’ problems on one lite beer.” Yes, it’s true. The world takes on a softer, kinder edge, laughter, even in the face of so much that might be difficult, comes easily and, lawn mowing is rather like being in the Auto Zone….just do it! And the ‘doing’ is much, much easier while the enormity of the task seems less daunting.

My most productive thoughts come during these times, too; mowing the lawn, under the influence and in the zone. I constantly converse with myself (and, in my imagination; others), holding lengthy discussions about fact, fiction and hypotheses. Problem solving is effortless; answers come easily and I remind myself to make a note; “aha! this particular issue is now resolved….” My imaginary conversations are often more entertaining and stimulating than those in ‘real’ life. Thoughts; ideas fly. Nothing seems insurmountable.

Just like being the solitary driver drifting down country roads, with no constraints on mental flights of fantasy; mowing under the influence becomes almost like floating; effortless, painless.

I am able to sooth frayed nerves during this lawn cleaving exercise and, frustrations, arguments and those darn little petty spats are quelled; solved which, often, lead to resolution because it’s safe to do it while beating up the lawn. The troubles of the day, concerns which seem almost impossible to remedy, are softened and lessened, just as is the ominous task of taming this rapidly expanding universe of green growth before me. This has saved many an evening at home…my pent up emotions are spent in the grassy field; tempered by Bud, sweat and tears.

While I’m in this mood; the mowing becomes secondary. I can cover broad swaths of blades without noticing and, before I know it; I’m more than half way home.

There’s nothing like a beautifully manicured lawn. It sets off the house, the flowers and the really pretty vintage iron furniture which is situated throughout front and back yards. Neighbors have stopped by to say how pretty the place looks and how happy they are that we’re doing such a “good job with Mr. Jaerger’s place.” This is quite the compliment; Mr. Jaerger did love this place and we honor his memory by respecting his former home. The ornamental floral displays he created have come back each year in unexpected glory! He often had spoken of the flowers which bloom in succession throughout spring and summer; “the yard is colorful all year because as the lavender dies back the iris open then as they wane, the peonies emerge; and it goes on, one bed after another giving the yard constant color.”

It’s true! We’ve added more iris, some annuals, daffodils, roses and more. And, what else is true is that many floral displays along roadsides here which are considered to be wildflowers are the same type of ornamental “six packs” I’ve spent many a dollar on in California at the local garden shop. These grow freely and profusely all spring and summer long beside country roads in SE Kansas.

Mowing the lawn serves so many purposes. These are just a few. Perhaps, in future musings, I’ll tell of other awakenings which come to life just as the lawn, the flowers and spring has come to life here. It is so lovely. I can’t say it enough. Words can’t describe the beauty here. Pure, clean, natural beauty.

There’s nothing like it!

 

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Comments 5 comments

epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

....you have a pure spontaneous feel to your writing - and when I read your flowing words of happiness and contentment it truly feels like having a beer on an empty stomach - I feel giddy, effervescent, and light as air!

You are a true child of nature and with a subject as seemingly banal as cutting grass you make it sound and read like a labor of love. Your readers share in this boundless enthusiasm of joy and you are definitely a creature of your environment.

You sound like a great neighbor and this story demonstrates that pride and respect.

Footnote: about the grass and the ground - I have been communing with my cats a lot this summer - and what I do is lay down on the grass with them - at their level!


epigramman profile image

epigramman 6 years ago

and your title - bud, sweat and tears is very catchy and punny! A good title is very important - it gives a little bit away in the beginning and then after reading the piece it makes so much clever sense.

Bravo to you!


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 6 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

Thank you so much, Epigramman aka Colin! Your comments are extremely important to me as I consider you to be a great and creative writer.


frogyfish profile image

frogyfish 5 years ago from Central United States of America

What a delightful expression of your "lawn mowing" escapades. Your yard is indeed manicured and beautiful!You make such a 'simple' chore into a interesting journey!


Lucky Cats profile image

Lucky Cats 5 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California Author

I frogyfish! I'm so glad you found this old hub (one of my first) ! I so enjoyed writing it...and this is just how I feel when I'm mowing. Thank you so much for visiting and commenting and the nice support.

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