Messages in the lawn
When we run the East coast, we get to pop in at home a lot more than when we’re a gabillion miles away in New Mexico. During the summer, it’s almost imperative we get home every ten days or so — the grass in Ohio is thick and green, and it’s been a wet summer. We also have a little garden that needs tending. We’re fortunate to have a really nice little farm, with three acres of yard around the house and barn that we actually mow. And when I say “we,” I really mean “I,” because that’s who cuts the grass.
I don’t cut the grass because I have to. Both George and our son (who is also George, along with his grandfather George… I got the George thing, I’m surrounded at any given moment with Georges) would gladly jump on either of the two decrepit riding mowers we have and force them into mowing the vast expanses of thick Ohio farm grass. No, I cut the grass because I love cutting grass. When I retire (I know that’s hilarious as hell, but I can dream) I’m going to buy a zero-turn mower and cut grass for a living during the summer, so we can spend our winters somewhere with sand and warm water.
I actually cut the three acres with a push mower. I don’t like how the riding mower makes the grass look, and I think a push mower gives the most uniform mow you’re going to get. (I just made Hank Hill pee a little.) I get a supreme sense of satisfaction from making the snarlies and weeds look like a lush green carpet. It’s also excellent exercise, and I get to sunbathe (because we have no neighbors), so I can wear whatever I want without being harshly judged by pesky people.
Since our property is directly under the flight line of the nearby Air Force base, I consider our yard a giant canvas. The humongous C-17 Globemaster IIIs they fly in and out come close enough to the top of our barn to smell pigeon poop on it. I’m pretty sure the crews can watch our TV through the bedroom window on the way in. They don’t come in and out a lot, thank the Lord, but when they do they’re up close and personal. I like to make sure there are interesting patterns in the lawn, just to draw their attention away from a silly little thing like landing an airplane that weighs approximately nine million pounds and carries enough fuel to incinerate South Korea. (You know, sometimes, when I’m relating the things I do to you, I read them back and think, “My God, that was the stupidest idea you could have ever had. What the hell is wrong with you? Besides the fact you have a borderline personality disorder and a deep mistrust for the government. That’s two things. Anyway, what were we talking about again?”)
I’m no longer at liberty to leave messages for the aliens in the grass. Our son has informed me that it’s “embarrassing” to him for me to tell his friends to be careful after dark going down our back lane because I not only saw an alien down there, I’m pretty sure he touched me on the neck. I can’t be certain, because I was not only screaming but also running through a cornfield in the dark, so since the information can’t be “validated” I can’t share it anymore. Whatever. I was just trying to communicate.
So I stick to basic patterns now. I imagine the builders of the Nazca Lines as I shape our grass into something fun to look at from the upstairs window, and feel a twinge of jealousy that their children weren’t embarrassed by them. Also, I’m covetous of the mad skills they had with shaping a giant monkey out of rocks, because I tried it in the grass once and it ended up looking like an enormous boob. Which was also terribly embarrassing for our son, I’m sure. And this is my concerned face.
"There probably should be some minimum standards. But as long as the ...