It’s spring. It is time to prepare for all the season will bring. I already wrote a blog about the beauty of spring and the renewal it brings and how important it is to stop and admire it when you get the chance. Well, for most of us, we will spend the rest of the season and summer really building an appreciation for all that the season has to offer; things like weeding the garden, mowing the grass, trimming the hedges and digging in the yard. Yes, fun will abound—and let’s not forget the best part of all: pollen. This will ensure that the time spent bent over in the dirt or behind the mower or on a ladder will be even more memorable as you stop every few minutes to convulse in a sneeze while trying to avoid cutting something off your body.
I’ve been pushing a mower for years. When I was a teen, it was my responsibility to keep the yard mowed and edged. At first it was fun—and have you noticed that a lot of things we do in life start out as fun? Think about it. Boys can’t wait to start shaving when they’re young, but once they have to shave every day, it becomes drudgery. Kids can’t wait to learn to drive, but by the time they are grown, they hate the commute to work or chauffeuring kids around. I was no different with my parent’s Craftsman lawnmower. They bought one of the first self-propelled models with a wide cutting area, which served to make it easier, but a 13-year-old doesn’t appreciate that. At first, it was cool. I turned the handle and the mower would pull me along. But soon, the novelty wore off. It was a chore, and we had a huge yard. We lived on a corner lot so by the time I was finished, I’m sure I had spent the entire weekend mowing. Surely, the sun had set and risen twice while I was being pulled along behind that machine.
I was overjoyed when I got my first apartment, not just because I was out on my own (no parents, no rules, no curfew—but introduced to a new concept: Bills), but because I knew I didn’t have to cut the yard anymore. It was so liberating to know the yard was no longer my responsibility but someone else’s. Of course, living on one’s own has other responsibilities that many young people don’t consider when planning how to spend all the free time they know they will have without having to do the chores mom made them do. It was amazing how the apartment didn’t clean itself up for me and the dishes just sat in the sink after dinner. And why was the pantry always empty?
The older I got, the more I learned to appreciate the importance of chores. I learned how to keep my responsibilities in order and shop and wash dishes and other chores. As I lived on my own, I still didn’t have to mow all that often. I think I rented a house for a year that I had to mow, but that was it until recently. Home ownership gives one a new perspective on chores, since it is now your grass, your garden and your house.
When I bought this house—my first house—I actually got excited at the prospect of buying a new mower: my first Craftsman (actually it is a Briggs & Stratton—Sears doesn’t actually make anything anymore, they just slap their name on products) mower. I have lived here for three years now, which makes this my fourth spring and fourth mowing season. I can safely say that the novelty of mowing has worn off again. Pruning the hedges out front, trimming the palm fronts off the trees in back, weeding the garden are all in the same boat of activities that have regained the title of “Chore.”
Chores are no fun. The amount of satisfaction derived from them ranks right up there with paying taxes and going to the dentist. We avoid them when we can. We find anything else to do. Going to the store takes on a whole new importance when the alternative is mowing, and the trip will probably take a lot longer than it needs to. Rain is no longer the ruination of weekend plans, it is a savior from them—when those plans include weeding and trimming. Even a slight drizzle that lasts 5 minutes can kill a two-day gardening project.
But this weekend I actually planned on finishing the yard work. The grass (make that weeds—the Bonus-S has not kicked in yet) will soon need mowing every week. The palms badly need trimming and the hedges lining the walkway are quite large. Unfortunately (or thankfully, take your pick) it has rained all day today. Of course, this means doing it sometime this week after work. Or not. Depends on how many trips I need to make to the store or the chances for rain. I think the forecast is for continued rain—yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s going to keep raining.