Marchipelago 31.01, 41 A.B.
"Cutting the grass is like riding a bike. Once you've
done it two or three times again, it all comes back to
you and you stop falling over."
- From the manual I wrote and tried to freelance to Toro,
Lawnboy, Sears, and countless small engine repair shops
coast to coast without success.
Little did I know when I woke up this morning that today - today! -
was going to be Mowermas.
Yes, Mowermas - that floating holiday that settles on my life every
spring as I mow my lawn again for the first time since the fall.
I merely observe it in passing. It's my local emergency rescue
workers who break out the champagne and really celebrate it.
Last year it didn't come until April 13. I thought for sure it would
wait at least until next week to get here this time, but no. A beautiful,
sunny afternoon with a temperature right around 60 degrees
enticed me outside. Uneven tufts of Kentucky blue and an unusual
surfeit of energy within me did the rest.
Two hours and the complete loss of my ability to see green later,
I suddenly remembered why I meant to join a cult that doesn't
recognize Mowermas last autumn. You know - something like
The First Church of the Neighborhood Kid for Hire.
Dang. Maybe next year.
IF there's no weird initiation ceremony involving Sacrificial Daffodils
or that creepy Overheard Chanted Griping.
On the plus side: Mowing my own lawn again reminded me of how
I do so many things I just don't comprehend.
Things I can't ever comprehend, no matter how hard I try.
Oh, I understand why we mow. How mowing in America derives
from the desire to have British-like manor estates. How the act of
clearing the land is a good basic default practice on a continent
where Indians and wild animals alike once lay in wait for big dumb
white guys like me to stumble out their front door in search of the
morning paper. How the food conglomerates, the mower makers,
and the lawn chemical companies have combined forces to brain-
wash us all into thinking that planting and growing vegetables in our
front yards is just about the worst thing one can do out there.
What I don't understand is how the moment I start to mow, I set in
motion a chain of events I can't observe or follow the consequences
I mean, I pull a cord, I start an engine, I push my mower over my
lawn, and from these very few, very limited actions...
... a blade is sent spinning an unknown number of times, suffering an
unknown amount of wear and tear in the process
... countless leaves of never-to-be-measured-or-weighed
grass are cut
... unnumbered types of weeds are cut as well
... indefinite numbers and types insects are eviscerated and/or
... unknown numbers and types of other creatures (such as ants and
pillbugs, moles and shrews, chipmunks and mice) are vibrated
to who knows what degree and consequence
... unknowable numbers and species of birds are forced to alter their
flight patterns and feeding habits
... unseen quantities of noise and fumes are sent wafting over the
landscape, disturbing who knows whose sleep or TV viewing, and
resulting in who knows what long-term consequences ranging from
hearing loss to cancer to global warming
... unrecorded thoughts are inspired within the unreachable minds of
unobserved passing motorists who take in my brief, blurry image
and feel, remember, plan, move, suppress who knows how many
different things using who can say how many different neurons
shaped by unknowable numbers and types of experiences and
On and on the consequences go, many unsuspected, nearly all
far beyond my ken....
And mowing is merely one example - merely one weekly, two-hour
reminder of just how murky and mysterious my world really is.
I chew and swallow a cookie, and set in motion a complex series of
biochemical actions and reactions I'll never ever be able to list let
alone understand despite the fact that they're taking place inside my
I turn on my PC and cause millions (billions? trillions? quadrillions?)
of electrons to act in untraceable ways they never would have had I
decided to munch a cookie instead.
I write this entry rather than any of the countless other entries I might
have written, and my mind and life are altered in ways I can never
And your choosing to read only to this point rather than all the way
to this point results in who knows how many differences in your
life, with who can say how many consequences for everything else?
Ahhh, Mowermas. Ya gotta love it.
After all, on what other holiday can the simple act of cutting the grass
result in such a severe case of motion sickness?
Last Home Next