Monday 17 October 2011

Taking Turns

Last weekend I jumped on our mower for the first time since before I was pregnant with Squid. On previous mows I’d give an envious nod and wave to our man neighbour flying by on his double paced, flash Gordon mower. The envy was such that Salt invested in a new mower. The old one made Salt swear like a sailor. It stopped without notice and got bogged mid-mow. The swearing made my eyes water and the cows blush. The new mower has a wider cut and goes like the clappers.

As kids my brothers and I were allowed to mow around the farm house. The farm itself was on five hundred acres, but the house was on about three. We had to take turns on the route marked out by my grandfather. My eldest brother did a circuit, held the gear down while my middle brother jumped on, released the gear and off he’d go. It involved steep inclines and in some places we had to navigate grandma’s trees. I misjudged once, which is to say that I drove straight into the water gauge. On occasion my brothers wouldn’t stop and they’d career off on another great loop. I’d protest, but it fell on deaf ears and roars of fading laughter. As I got older I didn’t stop visiting the farm and there were times when I got to mow the whole property. What a gift. Whether with my brothers, or on my own, on the mower I’d sing, reflect, admire the scenery, inhale deeply, and provide my grandmother with space from her ever present shadow.

Salt’s new mower is yellow. It has a driving wheel and an accelerator. It took me little time to return the property to lawn, but it doesn’t have the same feel, it was simply too fast. The old mower might’ve given up the ghost every now and then, but its gentle, familiar pace and beer holder created space for quieter singing and time to solve some of the world’s most pressing problems and ponder the abstract.

With Spring the grass has awakened, and the opportunities for mowing have grown. Next time I’ll lay off the accelerator and slow the lawn down, and then remember to buy Salt a water gauge. 

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