The Lawn Mower Man
The thing about having a lawn in Seattle is that your window for mowing it, at least during this, the wettest spring on record, is not big. Either it's pouring down rain or the grass is an exposed bed of seaweed, tangled and soaked with said poured down rain. The grass, however, does not give a care and continues to grow faster than a love affair in a movie montage. Grass grows, be there rain, sleet or snow.
Funny story, last month we had one sunny day and I actually stood outside in the cold, watching my breath and waiting for the snow to melt so that I could mow the lawn. Sunny days are few and far between.
Which leads me to yesterday. While I wouldn't go so far as to suggest that blue skies were smiling on me, I did see a sliver of blue sky in the distance, and it hadn't rained for over four hours -- it was my window.
And then I realized that my lawn mower was out of fuel. There I was, with a powerful beast left limp and lonely in my shed -- a machine with more horsepower than my car and twice as street-legal, and a lawn full of laughing grass, mocking me, wet with anticipation.
I pushed start on a mower that I borrowed from my neighbor, all 24 vaults of battery-charged fun. It was the lawn care equivalent of an electric razor and it took three passes to go a third as far.
Still, I kept at it, making random dents in the lawn like a child cutting their own hair. In the corner of the yard a pile of forgotten dog leavings stretched like gum smeared in ponytails. The grass was too much for the mower and the battery died somewhere, too soon and unimportant.
I went to neighbor two. He built his house of sticks. His mower did not require fuel or charge, just the sweat and sinew of a man that refused to go down like that. It moved where I moved it. It cut what dared to stand in our way. Eventually. The machine had heart, I'll give it that. However, it too was unable to face a Seattle lawn that had known nothing but time and rain.
My yard was a mess.
I dug around in the shed and found a shot of gasoline in an old can covered in cobwebs. I poured it in my own bull of a mower and tickled the starter until it stammered and spurted and lunged forward as if the green grass of home was a red sea of matador capes. We charged every single blade.
The moral of the story, if such things as a tale about rain and lawn mowers can have one, is to keep your lawn tame and to make sure that you have the right tool for the job. When that window opens you want to jump through it. Be ready to get your hands dirty.