Last night it rained, water pouring deeply into the ground, and while I was happy to see all the flowers and plants stand up after lying low to protect themselves during more than seven weeks of “water, what’s that,” I felt a special joy in my lawn transforming itself before my eyes.
I don’t know how rain accomplishes what watering by humans cannot. It is a miracle worker, catching up in one day the un-watered lawn to its spoiled neighbor that had a steady stream of sprinkler system watering sessions several times a week.
I do not have a sprinkler system. I'll admit I have had fantasies about having a sprinkler system. Not necessarily because I don’t want to spend my time lugging hoses when the lawn really needs water, but because the lawns with artificial water-aids look so much greener than my own lawn, and I feel the pain of my lawn when it gets too dry. Yes, I relate to my lawn. Lest you think this strange, I am sure there are others who can relate to the relationship I have with my lawn.
There is an old saying about a man’s home being his castle—no doubt a very politically incorrect statement these days. Well then, if a person’s home is his castle, then the lawn is a source of hubris with pride that is not the bad kind of those persons who value lawn.
To me the way a person’s lawn looks says something about that person. If you have a lawn that is neatly mowed but not edged, with annoying spillage onto the concrete barrier laid out by municipality, that is a statement. It is not a statement showing your independence and letting your hair down. It is a statement of character, amounting to being a neglectful person and not caring that other neighbors, such as myself, will have to look at the horrid haircut of green you parade before your house. It is you and your sloth on display for all to suffer and see.
Likewise, if you let a few tall strands of weeds or a different kind of grass stand on a lawn that is otherwise not in need of mowing, that decision shows you do not care to keep some semblance of order in your life.
Now if you don’t water, that makes you for the most part someone who is a conservator of precious natural resources, but there comes also the time when it is essential to stop your lawn's suffering, when the grass gets crinkly and you leave your footprint on it like an astronaut on the moon. You must carry the overpriced, green plastic sprinkler to strategic spots on your lawn and water, where nature is dehydrating your lawn.
By now you have surmised that I think a lot about lawns and have a relationship with my lawn that many people likely do not. I would venture a guess that most people who employ a lawn service do not have an intimate relationship with their lawn. Some people say they don’t have time to mow the lawn, but I would counter they prefer not to make time to have a relationship with their lawn. Some people say their allergies act up when they mow the lawn. Well, I sneeze at that statement. My allergies come into full bloom, but that does not mean I am going to give up mowing the lawn. Allergies can be had by most people whether they mow a lawn or not.
This whole mowing-your-own-lawn versus hiring-a-lawn-service thing crystallizes the relationship between a person and his lawn. Moreover, the way a person of a lawn service mows the lawn is a portrait of a person’s relationship with a lawn.
Allow me to come full-circle to where we began with rain this morning after a dry spell.
Before I left for work I retrieved two sticks from my wife’s planting area (she was not using them) and inserted them into my lawn (forgive me, lawn). I wrote with magic marker in capital letters DO NOT MOW on general-purpose office paper, inserted it into a see-through folder (compliments of my wife’s orderly office stash), and attached it to the sticks so the end result was a kind of cross, letting the lawn service person who mows my neighbor’s lawn know not to enter with his huge riding mower on the thickest tires I have ever seen. That’s right, KEEP OUT.
You see, this lawn service person, for years—in order to quickly reach one spot of my neighbor’s lawn—has crossed the border onto my lawn, with the result that I have a strip that gets mowed by him, compressed to lie deeper than the rest of my lawn. This uncaring mower has also exposed roots of my neighbor’s beautiful trees, simply because the lawn service person cares only about speed and ease of mowing.
And I had just carefully repaired that section of lawn, restoring it to what it was before greedy big machine mower man minced it.
My wife, who is a very compassionate person, points out that if I had a lawn service I would be in a hurry also, because that is how I would make my living, i.e., the quicker I mow, the more lawns I cut, and the more revenue I take in.
I disagree. I would mow the lawns with love, not with the furor and disrespect that this lawn service person shows in his very impersonal relationship with lawns. Another person who mows lawns for a living, and whom I have known for 18 years in his business, mows slower, with care, and you know by just watching the way his body moves, that his mowing is the act of loving caretaking.
So the business of lawn mowing is no different from the business of any other business or activity. People reveal much about their relationship with others and their surroundings by the way they go about, yes, repetition intentional, their business.
I am hoping you will weigh in on this issue, whether your allergies are acting up from having just come in from mowing or you feel a slight headache coming on from having paid your lawn service. Or maybe you slice deli-meat in a shop you own, thinking this will be a nice, tasty sandwich for your customers, or you want to get the food served so you can get your check, close up the store and finish mopping before you go home.
Awaiting your comments, and be kind to your lawn!

By Ulf Kirchdorfer
SuperSwede, Blogging at