I mowed my back yard this week in record time by cutting in a new Cross Country Trail. Welcome to my series on Mowing Patterns.
What is the biggest complaint for the lawn mowing hobbyist? Is it dull blades? Poor seating? The catastrophic ending of a Frog? While I find all of these mildly annoying, what I find most difficult is the time it takes to mow. If I watch TV, I’m just sitting there. If I trim the hedges, I’m using my hands to get something accomplished. In lawn mowing, I am doing both at the exact same time. This is both fulfilling and frustrating, so necessary for avoiding judgement by neighbors, yet so silly. We’re actually stopping nature from doing that which it wants to to. By the way, that which it wants to do is overtake my house and swallow my children into its thick tundra. Neither of these are fun to think about.
I once thought deeply about what it might be like to just not mow. To prove that I am more than just a virtual experimenter, I actually let a section of lawn just go crazy, much to my wife’s chagrin. “But Emily”, I protested, “those are my woods back there!”, to which she replied “those aren’t woods, that’s grass gone to seed.” She was right. I looked it up and, yes, you need trees to call something “woods”. I think it has to do with what trees are made of.
For this week’s mowing, I actually tried something different in the hopes that it might 1) save me time and 2) give the kids something fun to do. So, I mowed about 5 rows by the house and then just mowed a path through the thick grass, winding around through the back yard and making a Cross-Country Trail loop. Total distance is less than .1 mile, but that’s all the kids needed as they “ran the track” again and again. And again.
The PROS: Time saved. Kids happy. Mildly effective conversation piece. “Oh, is that a trail in your back yard (concerned look)?”
The CONS: For the trail to be properly defined, the other grass needs to be pretty tall. Tall grass has snakes. Snakes are jerks (Genesis 3). But hey — tall grass becomes woods!
Have I learned nothing?
The LIFE LESSON: I can teach my kids to “run the race with perseverance” and “look out for snakes”, all at the same time. Doing something out of the ordinary gives your brain a good workout. We all have to make decisions about when to do something different and when to put it back the way it was.
PS: It will be interesting to see if there is a defined footpath after the next traditional mow, since that part of the lawn is getting concentrated traffic.