Why I Really Really Really Love Mowing The Lawn. Yeah, You Read That Right

19/03/2016 7:44 AM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Man mowing lawn

I like mowing the lawn. That's it. That's pretty much all I have to say in this column. If you're a person with a typical modern attention span who loses concentration and clicks on cat GIFs after one paragraph, then do so now.

To the rest of you, I feel I should explain why I like mowing the lawn so much. It's about control, or rather the lack of it. I don't control anything in life. Not my work, my family, my finances, none of it.

Weekends really ram home this state of affairs. On weekends I am everybody's slave and nobody's master. To be precise, I am slave to my children's schedule. Sport, birthday parties, random dad taxi trips, you name it. My time is theirs and my headspace too.

But there's one place I am in command. That, people, is in the backyard with a mower in hand. Here I am not to be messed with. Grass does not talk back. Unlike a kid fighting a trip to the barber, there is no argument from lawn. It's getting mowed and that's all there is to it.

Mowing is ostensibly a chore but I think of it as a freedom. And I was interested to note this week when I interviewed the Olympic kayaker Ken Wallace that he felt the same way.

Wallace won gold and bronze in Beijing and has just been selected for his third Olympics in Rio. Here's what he said about the healing powers of lawn mowing.

"Sometimes I get wound up in all the wrong things I don't need to. Washing the car and mowing the lawn is a good way to relax. I especially enjoy mowing the lawn. There's a sense of satisfaction in mowing your own lawn. You can see what you've done.

"I've been mowing twice a week because it's growing so fast at the moment. So obviously I'm pretty relaxed right now."

You know what? When I came home on Wednesday night this week and told my son about my interview with Wallace, the kid said mowing has the same effect on me.

"Dad, you're exactly the same," he said. "Sometimes you wake up on a Saturday and you're really grumpy. Then you go outside and mow the lawn and come back inside in a great mood."

mowing the lawn

Lucky bugger.

He's right. Mowing makes me happy. Always has. As a kid I used to love the smell of the old petrol mower and the thrill of getting the pull cord to work. I loved even more the five bucks from Mum for completing the task.

Will I one day soon hand this task down to my son and pay him the equivalent of five bucks in today's money? I will not, because I like the job too much.

Funny story about my son and lawn before I go (and probably mow the lawn). We played golf recently, which is another thing I like to do on weekends that involves grass. It had rained heavily and my unusually accurate eight iron took a good chunk out of the green.

"It looks like there's actual grass under there," my son said on examining the impressive divot. Lol. He thought golf greens were made of astroturf. He'd played with me half a dozen times and never once realised the perfectly manicured discs of turf were actual grass. Until then.

It was a reminder of the the reason I like mowing the lawn best of all. Grass is awesome. Grass is actually really beautiful stuff. And it's my job -- no, my privilege -- to make it even better.

Mowing is an artform. A sublime, beautiful, meditative act. You can mow in stripes. You can mow in circles. You can mow any damn way you choose. Who gets to do anything the way they damn well choose anymore?

Me. On Saturdays. Bring it on.

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