Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Reflections on Lawns... and Life!

Good morning, and what a spectacular spring morning it is!  

Today is Tuesday May 30th, the day after Memorial Day, 2017. I know that the “holiday” is for remembering and thanking those who have fought, and continue to fight, for our country's and our personal freedoms. Seriously, not a day goes by that I don't remember that; afterall, my father is a WWII veteran, and to this day, he wears a poppy clipped to his golf hat. It was also neat to hear that he kept his tradition of visiting my mom’s grave yesterday, and delivered some flowers to her – so sweet! All of that was in my heart and on my mind over the past few days.
But I must admit that Todd and I were also fortunate enough to get away, and enjoyed a few days on our boat. With the crazy work schedule that he keeps, we do enjoy tacking on a couple of vacation hours to an already-long three-day weekend, whenever we get that opportunity, and benefiting from some overdue R & R.  

Which brings me to this morning, here in Waukesha Wis! I felt relaxed from being away, and decided that since there’s rain in the forecast for later on, I’d cash in on the morning sunshine and cut the lawn (whether it needed it or not… and believe me, it needed it!)  Maybe it was because I felt so refreshed from the weekend - I really don’t know; but as I prepared to cut, new thoughts fell into place, and I became inspired to write a new blog post. For a writer who hasn’t written one in quite some time (two months!), I consider that a good thing! It’s called, “Reflections on Lawns… and Life”  Have you ever connected those two particular dots (lawns and life) before? No? Well, let’s see how it goes, shall we?  

As I gassed up the mower and turned the ignition switch, I remembered years ago how I had to pull on ye old starter rip cord. Sometimes I’d pull and pull and the mower just wouldn’t start. Already I felt fortunate that there's been such a nice improvement that has made my job so much easier!

As I cut the first green blades of grass, down near the street, a realization popped into my head. First of all, I was born in 1961, so my first memories of grass cutting were of my dad and my two brothers using one of those ancient push mowers. Not the kind that I was pushing today, but an un-motorized mower with sharp menacing blades that you could see openly spinning around and around. It also dawned on me that my mother never (and I do mean NEVER) cut the grass. That was mans’ work! (wink)  

As I crossed over the driveway, my mom’s words made me smile because, my oh my, how times have changed! I remember when I first cut our (Todd’s and my) lawn. It was about 31 years ago - the spring that Todd and I had decided I’d quit my full-time job and stay home with “the baby.” Even though I’d never cut a lawn before, I felt happy to try! I mean, since I spent the majority of my days at home, and Todd spent the majority of his days at work, I knew I was expanding our family’s time together by taking care of the yard. I guess we’ve handled a lot of things in our marriage that way – whatever makes the most sense, or whoever has the most knowledge or time, does a certain project or job.

As I finished cutting near the street, I looked up into our back yard. We have quite a slope to our yard, and it’s always a challenge trying to figure out which way to mow first. I’ve tried a number of paths, always hoping that somehow the yard will 'change...' but oddly enough, those hills never seem to disappear. Sometimes I’ve wondered why we bought this slopey hilly lot at all! I mean, wouldn’t it have been a lot easier to buy a flat piece of real estate? We also could have purchased one of those riding mowers – just driven around, waving at all of the neighbors… That wouldabeen fun! (sigh)   

But no… Instead, we chose the hill, and because of that choice, we built a house with a gorgeous view. Our south and east windows look out over our neighborhood, and give us scenic variety that we’d never have experienced on a flat parcel. We planted trees, and built stone walls to house bushes, trees and red rock. The trees have matured beautifully and now provide us with afternoon shade. However, we now have giant tree roots pushing up through the ground. Nowadays, as I mow, I need to take those roots into consideration, so as not to nick them with my blades. A view, shade and roots… Hmmm… (Life!)

Anyway, as I made my way around the yard, I first headed over to (what I consider to be) the worst area, and got it “over with.” I hate that corner of our yard, but after finishing that difficult (cavernous) spot, the rest of the project always seems like pure joy. I’ve found that the most efficient path for me to take is to make one huge square. I’ve tried it different ways, but find no reprieve from the hills, and boy, can those be exhausting! Sooo… When I make this larger sweeping cut I’ve described, I have the downhill path on which I recover from the uphill path – over and over until the square shrinks and shrinks into a single small patch. Today the whole process only took me 50 minutes, which is down from my traditional hour! Sure, the temperature was only in the low 60’s, but still… I figured I must be doing something right!  

I must say that once I finished, and I stood staring back at the yard, it looked so nice. I love a freshly-mown lawn, don’t you? Even though I know that more dandy-lions and weeds will rise up in the next week or so, I guess that I still find it somewhat satisfying; like somehow the effort I put in today, and the effort we’ve put in throughout the years, adds greatly to the natural beauty and variety of the landscape – even if only for a few days at a crack.   

You might be thinking, Wow! Katie sure has a lot of deep thoughts when she’s cutting the grass! And that would be true! To be honest with you, I seem to have a lot of deep thoughts about most things! My mind never rests. I believe that’s the writer in me… and… I guess that’s a good thing!  So here's to the ups and downs of lawns... and life!

Have great days!


Katie Kolberg Memmel is the author of two books: “Five Fingers, Ten Toes – A Mother’s Story of Raising a Child Born with a Limb Difference,” and “Silly Stories and Sentimental Stuff.” Both are available through Amazon as paperback and electronic versions. For more information, visit her website at: www.katiekolbergmemmel.com