One Step Forward, Two Steps Back



“One step forward, two steps back.” That is often descriptive of the way I fumble through my life. Today, it chronicles the little tortuous dance I’ve been doing, while mowing my grass.

How did it get so long? It seems that through the months of April and May, whenever I had time and inclination to mow, it was raining. When the sun was out, and the weather was dry, I was at work, or deeply embroiled in other, more urgent activities.

In the spring of the year, most everything seems urgent. Business is picking up; work days are exhausting. Art work has to be readied and delivered for display in seasonal galleries. If spring cleaning is going to get done…well, now is the time. If I’m going to have a garden, it has to be planted now.

More than anything else, the garden can’t wait. Our season is short here, in the best of years. My home is in a little pocket of low land in the center of the island. I often get the first frost in the fall of the year, and the latest one in the spring. If I am going to have any hope of harvest, I have to get things planted!

So, there were many days that were suitable for mowing, when I was hoeing or digging or overseeing the tilling and setting of fence posts. There were evening when – instead of starting the mower – I used what time and energy I had to pull a few weeds. I spent one long, difficult day preparing the beds and transplanting raspberry canes and asparagus roots. When I talked myself into mowing for a little while that evening, rain gave me a welcome reprieve.

But, the grass continued to grow, more heartily after every shower. Yesterday, after a morning spent putting seeds in the ground, I looked up to realize I was living in the middle of a field! I couldn’t put it off any longer!

I have a sweet little push mower that starts every time. It has high wheels in back that make pushing easier. It muscles its way through reeds and tall grass with barely a complaint. Those are all the things I love about it. It is not self-propelled, however. It takes a lot of energy, on my part, to keep it going through the field of tall grass that is my lawn. It tends to bog down when the grass is wet, and dense, and woody…and that’s exactly what it is right now.

So, one step forward, two steps back. The forward motion makes a little headway; the backward motion takes another swipe at reeds and stems that tend to bend over rather than be cut off, and gives the mower a chance to discharge the clumps of straw-like cuttings that want to cling to the blade.

The job is hard! My back is protesting already, from the work I put it to yesterday. I’m having ibuprofen with my morning coffee, in anticipation of another long day. It’s also less than gratifying.

Normally, a fresh-cut lawn is a welcome sight, making all the shrubs and plantings look better against the trim backdrop. It smells good, and it’s soft to walk on. Not this time. My grass grew so long, the stalks are tough, and sharp when they’re cut. The grass formed clumps, so when it’s mowed, bare patches of earth are revealed. Every pass of the mower is marked by irregular mounds of clippings that will need to be dealt with later. “Better than before” is the best I can say for it, this time.

Still, that’s encouraging enough to send me outside for another day of the same. So, I’m off to the yard, to continue my little two-step.

About cindyricksgers

I am an artist. I live on an island in northern Lake Michigan, USA. I have two grown daughters, four strong, smart and handsome grandsons and one beautiful, intelligent and charming granddaughter. I live with two spoiled dogs. I love walking in the woods around my home, reading, writing and playing in my studio.

2 responses »

    • If only! My cousin raises sheep, I’ve thought of borrowing a few of them…I can’t even figure out the fencing and transporting necessary to make that work. Good thought, though!

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