Mowing the lawn is a zen-like activity for me. You may find that very odd, but, in my defense, my husband feels the same way about it. Growing up, I was never asked to mow the lawn because I was a girl and my older brother firmly filled that niche. I don't think he liked it all that much, but he wasn't given an opportunity to protest.
Because we live on 2.5 acres in the Pacific Northwest, we own a riding lawnmower and for the first two years we lived here, I was perfectly content to let my husband mow the lawn as necessary. About a year ago, I was trying to make peace between my two hysterical daughters and happened to glance out the kitchen window to see something that changed all that. My husband, in his shorts and sandals, elbow resting on the steering wheel of the mower, gazed off in front of him, a small smile on his face. There were earphones tucked into his ears and his head was nodding slightly to the beat pouring into his brain.
It takes approximately an hour and a half to mow our lawn. An hour and a half during which you cannot be interrupted by a child yelling that her sister hit her or took her toy or spit on her. That is the other parent's job. You can simply sit and steer the fire-engine red mower around and around, once in a while looking behind you to gauge your progress. Mowing is my oasis, albeit a loud one. My husband confessed to me after I asked him to teach me how to use the mower that he calls it his "fortress of solitude". He was loath to share it with me, but was kind enough to relinquish his monopoly.
Last weekend after I brought him home from the hospital I left him in charge of the girls and went out to mow. This was cruel, I know, especially considering he had spent the last three days being poked and prodded and filled with fluids by hospital personnel at all hours of the day and night. I was hoping that his weakened state would afford him some consideration from the girls and they would be on better behavior. But really, I was out for self-preservation at that point. I needed to do something that would produce tangible results. I wanted to start at the edge of the lawn and look behind me to see the short, green strip I had just mown. I wanted to dump the grass collectors and get sweaty and dusty and smell and look as if I had just done something, anything. The simple act of going in ever-decreasing circles around the yard, listening to the drone of the engine and not being responsible for anything more vital than avoiding the dog's tennis ball with the blades sounded pretty damn good to me right then. Good thing I listened to my instincts. It was just what I needed at the end of a very difficult and frustrating week. I can't wait to mow the lawn again next Saturday!