Mower is now Less

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My electric lawnmower is going to the great sod farm in the sky. Fellow implements like the weed wacker and the hedge clipper have gathered at the death-bed in case there’s a rally, but it really doesn’t look good. The old mower made one great  Hail Mary stab at defiance yesterday by slicing up the power cord for the last time but it’s clear to me (and just about all of my neighbours) that its days are definitely numbered.

I bought it about eight to ten years ago and I think I paid $35. I guess it doesn’t owe me anything. I was hoping it would just keep on running , much like a nuclear submarine.  I thought, at the very least, it would survive as long as our coffee maker since it’s manufactured by the same company.

But yesterday I began to hear noises from under the flimsy plastic canopy that sounded unfamiliar to my ear. The deafening monotonous drone was gone and replaced by the same sound you might get if you threw a handful of pea gravel into your garburetor. And there was smoke….little wisps of smoke began to curl their way into the azure April sky. I half expected the blades to come flying out next..which was not such a frightening prospect since they have long ago taken on the relative sharpness of an old canoe paddle.

So the mower is going. Sad, really, when I think about all we’ve been through together..the projectiles we’ve launched, the decomposing clumps of mushrooms and clandestine piles of dog doo we’ve encountered along the way.

I don’t know how many lawn mowers you’re supposed to go through in the average lifetime. My father, who never threw anything away, had a fleet of mowers in the garage of our family home…and none of them worked. I’ve now owned all three types..gas-powered, electric and the manual reel mower. I suppose I could go back to the basics and buy a good quality reel mower but if you’ve got lumpy, undulating terrain like mine it tends to dig in a bit.

Cutting the lawn is a very specific, lifelong maintenance arc.  We pretty much all go through it.

[picapp align=”left” wrap=”true” link=”term=cutting+grass&iid=5239825″ src=”4/5/f/e/Low_angle_view_6e3d.jpg?adImageId=12588833&imageId=5239825″ width=”234″ height=”234″ /]   It starts in childhood with that thrill of responsibility that comes when your parents first let you take the controls of a lawnmower in hand. This moment is always prefaced by a particularly gruesome warning about someone unnamed who lost all their digits simultaneously in a cascade of gore during a moment of distraction one otherwise glorious summer afternoon.

The childhood glee does not last long. Before you know it your parents have got you shackled to this screaming machine (slave labour, you argue) as part of earning an allowance. By the time you move out, after those embattled teenage years, into your first apartment you’ve had it with cutting the grass. You’re elated that it’s now a landlord’s responsibility.

Then you buy your first home and guess what? It’s your lawn now.  You get to water, aerate and dethatch. You get to spread lime and kill the weeds. You launch a personal war against moles and European chafer beetles and you enter into the eternal quest to make this one small corner of creation resemble the sixteenth green at Augusta National.  And you set about to raise at least one child to whom you can delegate this increasingly onerous task. Eventually, though, the circle of life completes itself and that child leaves the nest.

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Now there is no one left. It’s just you and the whirling dervish. And this is when people downsize…when they simply can’t cut another lawn. Maybe the old mower is trying to tell me something. Maybe it’s saying the time has come for both of us to retire.

A smart man would just walk away with all ten toes intact.


One Response to “Mower is now Less”

  1. Victoria Says:

    As a woman I have always enjoyed my end of the grass cutting regime. My job was to provide tall cool glasses of lemonade, stand on the deck and point out areas that were missed. Didn’t seem too challenging to me, perhaps I missed the point.

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