Every year after the first frost, I stand at the window, my forehead on the glass, and pine. I watch as the lawn shrivels, freezes, and sleeps through the next four or five months of winter. It’s pathetic – I’m pathetic, and all because I really love to mow the lawn.
This lawn-mowing thing began years ago with the first house we owned on the outskirts of a University, my now ex, was attending. Our small three bedroom, one bath, house-on-a-slab, sat smack-dab in the middle of a half-acre square of grass.
Whether it was lawn grass is debatable, nonetheless, during the summer, it had to be mowed at least once a week, sometimes every five or six days. With hubby attending classes at all hours of the day, I was the one who had the time to mow the lawn after my 9 to 5 job, and I did.
Believe me, it wasn’t love at first sight. It was more like; “I just worked a freakin’ whole day at a job that sucks, (it really didn’t), and he’s in class doing who-knows-what with who-knows-who, while I’m out here, dyin’ in this damn heat, pushin’ this freakin’ mower.” Yep – that’s just about how it was.
That first summer and for about the next 3 more, that’s what it was like – me cursing, sweating, and panting; mowing in nice, neat, straight lines, between my house and the neighbor’s.
But slowly, over time, something happened. I noticed it the fourth summer, after the ex graduated and had a real job. Our little girl was about three, I had just put the dinner dishes in the dishwasher and turned it on, when Tom said he’d go mow the lawn. I said no, stay and watch Kelly. I insisted, Tom apologizing for all the times he hadn’t mowed, but I was adamant and finally won. I suddenly realized I didn’t want Tom to steal my bliss.
I got the keys from the hook next to the back door, walked out to the shed, and unlocked the double doors. I wheeled out the lawn mower and topped off the gas tank. I pushed the primer button three times, then pulled the cord. It started instantly and we were off.
Depending on how hot it was, how hot I got, or how tired I was, mowing could last from 90 minutes to 2 hours. Every now and then, I’d hose the mower clean before I put it away. It mulched everything, so I never did anything with the clippings, just rolled the mower back into the shed, locked it up, walked back into the house, and put the keys back on the hook. Done.
The second I walked into the air-conditioned house, I’d realize how sweat-soaked and chilled, I was. My legs were wobbly, I was almost panting, my calves burned, my shoulders, back, arms, and hands throbbed – my whole body ached. I felt wonderful.
I’d wash up, sometimes take a shower, and for the next hour or so, I’d feel wonderful – blissful. Playing with Kelly was a joy. So was doing the laundry, dishes, talking with Tom – it seemed that everything was just easier to do. I’d look out the window and see a beautiful lawn. I’d bask in the realization that, from beginning to end, a task was done – finì.
Then someone told me that that feeling of bliss was a chemically induced reaction to the endorphins released during that strenuous exercise of mowing the lawn. If he hadn’t been a barbeque guest, sitting on our patio, overlooking our freshly mowed and manicured lawn, with me still in that euphoric state of bliss, I’d’ve have shoved that chicken leg so far up his nose …