I like autumn. Not because of the fall foliage that graces New England's countryside this time of the year, though for sure it's an eye-pleasing site. And not for the pleasantly cool days devoid of summer's heat and humidity, though they are easy to take. And certainly not for the anticipation of the World Series. When you're a Red Sox fan, you learn to hate the Series. Check the history books to find out why.
I like autumn for one special reason: Soon, I won't have to cut the grass.
Already, I can stretch the cuttings beyond a week apart. It won't be long before I can drain the oil, clean the blades, and put that blasted machine away and out of sight.
Don't get me wrong: I like the feeling of working the land. Digging a vegetable garden is an honest endeavor—and even creative. Planting a tree is a gift to the next generation, which will enjoy its shade and beauty. But cutting the grass? It's like giving someone a haircut, and I was never good at that.
Now, I have to admit that my attitude is a little different in the early spring. I'm anxious to get back outside without the boots and gloves and take command of the yard again. I read about the latest in mowing technology, including our own reports on the brake and clutch innovations in a new rider mower ( Design News Motion Control supplement, April 3, 2000). I actually enjoy the exercise of pushing my mower, occasionally running with it like a football player moving a blocking sled, or pushing it with my arms as if it were a Nautilus machine. I welcome the solitude. It's just me and my mower, working in sync, oblivious to the outside world.
Then, I take the mower out for the second time of the season.
The previous week's work seems to have been wasted. All that overgrowth I got rid of is back again, before my muscles have stopped aching. Those blades of grass I cut down to size have risen again, silently telling me that no matter what I do they'll keep coming back for more until they wear me out. Which they are already starting to do.
But here we are in mid-September and at last I'm winning. The grass isn't as resilient as it was before. Victory is at hand.
And so, soon, will be the first snowfall and I can gleefully start shoveling my driveway again. At least for awhile.