Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Lawn Mower

I hold down the lever and yank back on the cord as I hear the rumbling, feel the vibrating in my hands. The lawn mower shakes off brown dust the way a dog shakes off water. It roars at me in anticipation of the blades of grass it will soon eat. The mower knows it is time for its weekly meal. It is Saturday.

My dad wants me to use the riding lawn mower, but I don't for two reasons: I enjoy the walking, the pushing. The act of being the mower. Also, when I was younger I tried the rider and I couldn’t reach the brake and almost collided with my mom’s car.

For years I mowed with this same push mower—a professional, I called myself. Then, abruptly, I stopped mowing because my left hip was removed and I could no longer walk. It was my job, my duty, my responsibility no more. For years I was used to someone else using my lawn mower, or worse, not using it and instead relying on the riding mower.

It was not easy getting my job back, not because my dad loved mowing so much, but because he didn’t believe I was able. I had to prove it.

I grab the mower and pull it out of the garage. The thin, black handle is just as I remember it. The slightly messed up front right wheel is just as I remember it.

Gasoline? Check. Collection bag secured? Check. Long grass ready to be eaten? Check.

I start it up and take off down my front yard, making a straight line like at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I reach the corner at the back of the yard and wonder how I’ll handle it, when previously learned instincts take over. I plant with my good leg and stop, transfer the mower’s weight to the back wheels, pull it back and pivot so I can turn around. I start down the second row and make another perfect line adjacent to the first. It is Saturday and I am a professional.


Anonymous said...

You, like Jonathan before you, have achieved status as the official lawn mower professional at home. I am very pleased to give up this job to you. The riding mower is now in semi-retirement.

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