Monday, August 16, 2010

Mowing Musings

“All men are like grass and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the Lord blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God stands forever.” Isaiah 40:6-9

Mowing is the single-most destructive thing that I do. I’m reminded each and every time, when innocent frogs, grasshoppers, spiders, butterflies, dragonflies and other hopping critters fan out from my path of destruction. Mowing is mostly an aesthetic practice. I say ‘mostly’ because if we didn’t do it, the mice and snake population would most likely increase closer to the house, and that places it in the necessity category in my book to keep away the snakes and mice.

My weekly yard mowing sessions are usually kind of a self-reflective ritual that I have, but today I brush hogged the back pasture and had about three hours on a loud noisy tractor with exhaust blowing in my face to self-reflect, and it turns out that’s a little too much time for me to be introspective.

My thoughts began to wander to my surroundings. My first thought was wonder. After the heat we’ve had the last couple of weeks, it was a wonder anything was alive anyway. But I began to notice that not only was the grass alive, it seemed quite content to keep on growing in the 100+ temperatures, despite our lack of rain recently. A new baby catalpa tree had sprouted up since last mowing and was about two feet tall. I hacked it down since it really wasn’t in an ideal location. I also had a baby willow tree that had shot up by the old Christmas tree, where all the dead pets are buried, and I decided to leave it. I wondered if it came from my neighbor’s willow tree that he has by his pond. Maybe someday I too will have a pond. I want a pond. Maybe the willow tree is marking the spot.

I noticed that the different grasses in my pasture were quite distinct. The big bluestem (or what I think is big bluestem based on my plant science classes many moons ago) was nearly as tall as I was seated on the tractor. The fescue almost looked like waves of grass below. Some kind of grass with a reddish tinge to its leaves had gone to see in wild little fuzzy cattail looking bunches. The Bermuda was nearly dead. I vowed to never have a pasture of primarily Bermuda grass for fear the horses will starve to death.

I noticed there were purple wildflowers in my pasture. Some were low to the ground and looked almost like morning glories. Others were tall and purple and the butterflies seemed to be particularly interested in them. After chopping down several, I began to have second thoughts about all my destruction. Then I noticed a patch with quite a few and decided to leave it alone. Hope the butterflies enjoy their oasis in the pasture.

I also began to take notice of my tractor driving and tried to maximize each swath that the brush hog cut. My corners were over-exaggerated and I thought there must be some way to keep them from getting all pointy and hard to maneuver, but alas I was not smart enough to figure it out. I thought that a triangle must be the hardest shape to mow. I vowed never to have a triangular pasture. Or enter a tractor driving contest.

And proper tractor posture is very hard to maintain. Just so you know.

Just when I was thinking that I must be getting too much exhaust in the face, I looked up and saw an eagle. At least I think it was an eagle. It was quite a ways away and appeared to have a brown body and a distinct light-colored head area. Now I think I know where some of my chickens must have gone. Must not have been back to the mother ship after all.

As I was finishing up, I rethought the eagle episode. Maybe they were vultures. Maybe they were circling because they knew I wouldn’t last much longer. Maybe I’d really had too much exhaust.

But then I went back to thinking they were eagles because it’s much more pleasant to think my poultry gave its life for the symbol of our country instead of for a nasty old vulture.

Hope you’re having a great day today and enjoying your surroundings. And if you’re mowing, I hope the vultures aren’t circling and that you haven’t had too much exhaust!

“As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone and its place remembers it no more.” Psalm 103:15-16


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