DISCLAIMER: This is an entire post about mowing. I am so sorry.
This is the tale of a brave little lawnmower asked to tackle a job of ENORMOUS proportions. Or rather… an undertaking of moderate size and less than ideal conditions which probably don’t fall under Chippy’s job description.
“Take this wee mower and mow your whole acre field with it, BUT be sure the grass is too tall and very damp first.” The small engine seller did not say to Mason when he bought it. I guess that’s what I get for not having been there. For that is what I did. Poor Chippy.
You see, New England has been in a constant state of wet for weeks now. Not just drizzly wetness, but drenching downpours which leaves the ground over saturated and the roads washed out. With only a day or two of sun in between, there simply hasn’t been enough time to truly dry out the grass, but plenty of time for it to grow! All too soon the grass was going to be beyond Chippy’s capabilities and we are not yet in the market for a riding mower, so it was now or never.
Perhaps I should have been daunted from the start, but with the enthusiasm of a new home owner I ploughed my way into the field…
The problems began at once. With every one of these passes I had to stop, turn off the mower, and unclog the grass chute. This routine does not give one a sense of efficiency and accomplishment. Again, perhaps I should have had some second thoughts about my day’s plan, but I didn’t. THE FIELD WOULD BE MOWED.
Besides, I had all day, there was plenty of time and sun and everything would be great! Maybe I would even get the yard around the house done, too!
Using a tactic I despise every time I come across it in a novel I will say… “if only she knew how wrong she was and the terrible consequences her actions would cause.” (I find it ever so depressing to be repeatedly told of the doom awaiting the characters, while being fed a strong impression that perhaps the characters are also a bit dumb for making all these doom causing decisions. Maybe it just hits a little close to home.)
Signs of my enthusiasm waning started to show in the desperate shapes I began to make. Having initially mowed in methodical and efficient straight lines, I now found myself pushing Chippy in determined squares…
I was already a few hours into this process, and I think this was the pitiful state of my amusement playing out, but I had also determined that perhaps I could make things easier for the mower if I mowed in a way that I didn’t have to re-mow the grass shot out of the chute. There is absolutely no proof that this did work because I had reached a section consisting of different grasses which were easier to mow. There was a new bounce in my step.
Until I reached the graveyard.
In one corner of the field the previous owners stuck sticks in the ground to mark where the rocks are for the unaware mower. Four hours into mowing I had reached this corner and as I struggled to navigate the plentiful sticks I couldn’t help noticing a certain likeness and wondering… what if these markers are marking markers?!
Well, it’s highly unlikely, but… what if it’s true?! I can’t know! My writer’s brain goes wild with ideas.
On a more cheery note, I also found this little guy in this corner…
An Eastern Newt! This one was tiny, only the length of the tip of my index finger. These orange fellows are a familiar sight for me since my childhood, so are another newt of a duller green and yellow complexion which I’ve always seen in ponds, but in doing my research to figure out exactly what they were called I discovered both are the same newt at different ages! I have also discovered this fact is old news for a lot of people, but… better a late bloomer than never.
After FIVE AND A HALF HOURS my doom was before me. I had only managed to do just over half of the field. As for consequences… I may have exaggerated a little. Mildly frustrated by the lack of completion, a little sore, and fairly tired pretty much sums them up. Boy was it a long day.
There’s nothing like doubt to undermine one’s mental stability in a situation like this. I just can’t help contemplating the human need to tame, tidy, and control nature. As spiders, crickets, grasshoppers, and newts fled before my munching crunching machine (I helped as many of them as I could) I had to harden myself to the situation to continue. On the other hand I am someone naturally prone to tidiness and my surroundings looking good feels important to me. I still haven’t solved that issue for myself. I think I’m hoping that when I can get animals they will eat down the grass and everything will feel like a more natural equilibrium.
And then I went and made this huge mess in my house! Ah well, the sky was still blue, the sun lowering behind the trees making the heat and humidity less unbearable; at least now I could go relax under the trees on this beautiful day.