The Jewel in the Yard

I hate mowing the lawn.

Hate with a passion, hate with a fury, hate it with every fiber of my being.

As a product of Midwestern surburbia, I've been mowing yards for over 30 years. Some large, some small, but always a pain in the butt. I never seem to have enough time for the task, and I'm forever juggling schedules during mowing season to get it done.

It takes me about 25 minutes to mow the yard at my current home. If that's an average amount for homes where I've lived over the years, in round numbers that adds up to just over 400 hours of pushing a lawnmower around and around the yard. What a waste of time!

I was pondering that recently, while (you guessed it) mowing the lawn and looking for anything that would give the task some redeeming value.

That's when I found the jewel in the yard.

In the midst of life's chaos, the time I spend chained to the lawn mower is actually a gift. It's a gift of time. Time to be alone with my thoughts, time to think as the noise of the mower drowns out the phone, the television, the Internet and any number of other interruptions.

I still have all my fingers and toes, so I've somehow perfected the technique of thinking while mowing without injury. (I'm sure there's a support group out there somewhere!)

As I mowed on that recent evening, I thought of how when the kids were little, mowing gave me a short break from their constant care. As they grew older, it gave me time to think about how to help them deal with school and bullies. And these days, how to help them get through college.

I know for a fact that I've chosen numerous Mother's Day gifts for my wife while pushing a lawn mower during the early parts of the season, and thought about how to help my aging parents.

As that train of thought moved foward, instead of an onerous task, mowing became more of a sabattical from my otherwise way too hectic lifestyle.

So, fathers of suburbia, while you're crashed on the couch watching baseball on Father's Day, just remember, you're throwing away your "me" time in the yard.

But don't worry, it'll still be there next week.