Mowing the Hours Away Until The Deathly Hallows

July 20, 2007

We live on a parcel of land in what once was rural countryside. Slowly suburbia creeps closer, and occasionally sends out runners like an aggressive vine, adding a cluster of mini mansions crammed so closely there’s no sunlight for grass to grow in between. There’s plenty of “green space” around the perimeter of the cluster of houses, and often an ornamental pond or two with concrete walkways twisting so much they look like they were poured by drunken men chasing each other. Usually they throw a stone wall around the “subdivision” to set it apart and give it the feeling of exclusivity. It’s odd to hear people say they want to move to this area because of the open feel of the land, and then build stone walls to block it off.

But we have open land! Open land means trees here and there, a pond to the north and a pond to the south, and cows to the west. Open land also means a lot of mowing. I have a zero radius mower to mow my parcel. Taking out the areas we leave wild and the pond, I probably mow about 4 acres. Here in Texas we had a lengthy drought followed by months of ongoing rains, so mowing has been tricky. I was able to get everything adequately mowed between rainfalls so I could take my mower in for its annual service. It took more than a week and the rains have been intermittent since I got it back. That means that the area outside our fenced yard is very tall, so parts of the grass rise above my knees when I drive the mower through.

Because of this I had to plan 2 levels of mowing. I cut with the mower set very high to shear off the top part of the grass, still leaving it lengthy and rough looking. I will have to go back over it at a lower setting to get a nice clean cut. If the rain holds off. I got a cool breeze and then a chilly wind with sprinkles of rain from some very dark clouds while I was making my first run through half the pasture.

Having to mow, and then mow again, seemed frustrating at first. But when I thought it through it sounded a lot like my career path lately. I have to take steps of preparation in order to take the next steps for the next level of preparation. I can’t just walk through a door and have a thriving coaching/personal growth counseling practice. I have to complete the coursework, I have to have a couple of practice clients, and then I have to build up a paying clientele one client at a time.

It’s the same with the mowing. I can’t just set the mower on “nice low even cut” and zip around for a few hours and be done. I have to mow the wild pasture down to a manageable level. Then I have to wait a few days and mow it at a lower level, which will leave clumps of cut grass that will turn brown and ugly. Then I have to wait until the grass has grown back a little and mow it evenly to get everything to look right.

Mowing has to be done on a regular basis. Around here, that’s from some time in March until maybe October or November. Then there’s a break. But when the grass starts growing again, I have to try to stay on schedule or it gets out of hand and grows taller than my knees. Sometimes the schedule gets messed up because of rain. Sometimes the schedule gets messed up because I’m out of town for a while. But usually the schedule with the mower gets messed up because I forget to respect the regular cycle of the grass when I get busy doing other things. I’ll miss my regular time to mow and look out a couple of days later and realize I need to get it done soon. And then I’ll start trying to figure out when, in my crowded schedule, I can get to it without waiting until my next regular mowing time.

Grass doesn’t reschedule. It doesn’t agree to postpone the project because things came up. It doesn’t wait for a time that’s convenient for both of us. It just grows when it’s supposed to grow and really doesn’t care if I stay caught up!

My pasture teaches me lots of lessons when I’m willing to pay attention. Some of them I even remember! This one I’m slow to act on, though. The new Harry Potter book comes out tonight and I’m heading to Kroger or Wal-Mart to buy it. The back half of the pasture may wind up as tall as my shoulders before I take time to do the first rough cut. Maybe I’ll finish the book over the weekend and find a couple of hours on Monday to go out and learn some more things from my pasture.

May You Know the Joy of Sharing Your Gifts,

Steve Coxsey

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