Sunday, May 02, 2010


Thoughts on lawn mowing

I mowed my lawn last week, the first time for the season. I thought I might make it wait until May, but it didn’t quite... and the weather was so nice for it, that day.

It’s not always, of course, the weather. In the dog days,[1] when New York hits the upper 90s in both degrees Fahrenheit and percent humidity, it can be a pretty miserable hour. At those times, I’ve thought of finding a neighbourhood kid to do it, as I used to do for others in Florida, forty years ago.

Back then, I got $5 for a lawn. Well, except for my own: my father only gave me $1. On the other hand, Dad also took care of the food and clothing, and bought me lots of other things I wanted, so I think I can give him a break on the lawn thing. Anyway, gasoline prices have gone up by a factor of about ten since then, so at the same rate of increase, I guess I’d expect to pay at least $50 now.

But whenever I think about doing that, I back off. I actually like doing the lawn, even in those dog days. It’s a kind of zen thing, a meditative activity, the drone of the mower acting as a sort of mantra as I go to and fro, to and fro, across the yard, some sixty feet one way and then sixty feet the other, over and over for an hour, thinking about whatever comes to mind. I’d miss that time of enforced meditation.

Sometimes, what I think about turns into something on these pages.

Like this.

[1] And where does that idiom come from?


The Ridger, FCD said...

It's very old, that figure of speech - from when the Dog Star was thought to be closer to Earth, as it loomed on the horizon, and thus was thought to cause the temperatures to rise by adding its heat to the Sun's.

Brent said...

According to wikipedia, "The name comes from the ancient belief that Sirius, also called the Dog Star, was somehow responsible for the hot weather."

Ray said...

OK, now I'm really curious. Where were you thinking of moving your lawn to? Don't you like it where it is?

Barry Leiba said...

Gak. Typo (in the title) fixed. Thanks, Ray.

HRH said...

My 85 years old neighbor Mr. Megna, in “Wappingers Falls – NY”, used to mow, two-third of my lawn with his tractor, during the season and rake the leafs in fall, and I always thought of it, as a good neighborly gesture. Perhaps because, I purchased the house from his retiring son, during the worst housing down turn in the late 80’s “I use to say to myself”.

WELL - One hot and humid summer day (Dog day) in 2001, as I was mowing my third of the lawn, I saw him, lubing his tractor, to get it ready for usual mow; so I decided to walk over and finally show some gratitude and to thank him for his 12 years of good neighborly gesture (mind you that at this point, he was 97 years old). He was rather astonished and reminded me that he was only mowing his own lawn. A week later, after we had a surveyor updating the posts, it turned out that Mr. Megna had forgotten a land swap deal he made with his son, in the late 70’s!! The following Saturday afternoon, I had the responsibility of mowing my entire lawn, and not only the third. Of course Mr. Megna passed in the spring of 2003 and I sold the house in December of that year, however, I am always haunted by the question, that, did Mr. Megna hated me for not thanking him sooner?