Like so many others, the quarantine has given me time to spend in the yard, working the soil for the garden, mowing, trimming, and planting flowers. It is true, even in bad times, God provides a silver lining.
I like to mow my yard. The simplicity of it, the back and forth, the proof that something is accomplished each time I turn the wheel.
Maybe I should retract and start over. I like to mow my yard with an old John Deere that keeps on cutting and performing as good as ever, due to the constant dedication of my dad to maintain and replace any broken parts over the years.
The fact remains that I do enjoy cutting the grass. That is, at least in part, due to my appreciation of my yard itself. No, my yard is not one of those you see on the front cover of Southern Living or House Beautiful – my yard is a regular, good old country yard. Full of crabgrass and dandelions, mixed in with whatever kinds of grass has found its’ way to my neck of the woods.
My eyes water and I have sneezing fits occasionally, but thankfully not bad enough to run me inside. Sitting in the familiar seat of the small tractor, I’m right at home watching the edge of the mower run on the line just done. All kinds of thoughts can come unbridled on the tractor, but never one of sadness. I remember with a smile my grandfather riding over this same acreage, minus the two houses that are now on it, on a tractor that was also lovingly cared for. Lying on the ground afterward and helping him to clean out from under the tractor, and then – probably something not everyone did – my grandmother would come and put Pledge on the tractor, wiping away all the grass until it shone like new.
That tractor is still around, these many years later. My brother has it, a testament that even tractors can be passed down!
My grandparents have been gone years now, but my memories shine with gladness.
Sometimes my mind will go to what to plant in the garden, and should I move the gnomes around again?
My grandson is now mowing most of our little piece of heaven. I proudly turn it over to him – I keep on doing a small part just to keep my hand in! – although I know that soon the mowing activity will cease to be something he looks forward to and turn into something he dreads.
That’s okay. Maybe one day he’ll see what I see, feel what I feel. Maybe. I hope so. It’s a blessing, truly.
The best part? Early the next morning. Sun peeking over the trees in the backyard, dew on the freshly cut grass, sparkling like diamonds thrown out by fairies overnight. A lone dandelion managed to avoid the blades and stands tall in the morning light, waiting for the child to come and blow the dandelion fluff up in the air, like parachutes falling onto the wet grass. Memories of my grandfather – ‘Didi’ – fussing about spreading the dandelions everywhere. He hated weeds. But he loved me more than he hated the weeds, and he would smile as I blew the white wisps into the sky.