FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: Lawnmower Manifesto
My day began as it normally does: kind of lousy. In a well-intentioned, but poorly executed attempt to get a head start on my schedule, I tried to focus on some work that needed to be done, while simultaneously waking kids, cooking breakfast, making lunches and screaming. Distracted and tense, I really serve no one very well. My kids get frustrated and upset. My wife gets impatient and mean. My dog hides. And I get little accomplished. Not good for anybody. My salvation may lie in the fact that the sun came out and, along with a nice little warm breeze, it should dry my lawn enough for me to mow. I need this little time out to reset myself.
My lawnmower is an escape hatch from my world of lost socks and spilled orange juice. Its 5.5 horsepower hum provides sanctuary from the chaos and deadlines and bickering. I need a good stint behind my mower. It puts me in a good mood. It is a simple, yet effective, tool for bringing me back where I belong. I love mowing the lawn. I have my best thoughts while walking behind a mower. I enter a wonderful Zen state and head deep into the inner sanctum of my mind where my most important thoughts reside. I gain access to the deep well of ideas and understanding and truth often buried in the shallow concerns of my daily obligations. Mowing the lawn, for me, is meditation in motion. The visceral impact of a tidy lawn with clean, straight lines symbolically, yet tangibly, trims my spirit’s own fuzzy edges that haphazardly spill over onto my mind’s sidewalks. I like a clean edge. Clarity and peace live in a clean edge.
In the often muddy and fragmented world of my thoughts, certainty seems hard to come by. Graciously, my lawnmower meditation strips away the extraneous and burdensome chaff that clogs the machine and I return to where I belong.
I believe we all have a home base, a comfortable couch that settles us in the eye of our daily hurricanes. This place, though we know it exists and where it is, is often overlooked. Life is busy and we are pulled in many directions usually far away from our center. Traveling outside of this zone makes us uneasy and uncomfortable. Fortunately, our soul is closer than we think. It lives in a quiet moment watching the kids play baseball, enjoying a walk with the dogs or even standing over this sink silently washing dishes. It lives in the soft moments of life happening every day. It is easy to look past it, but it is always there, this wonderful and brief moment of self-awareness and insight. Joy and answers are here.
So, today I will dust off the old lawn machine, gas it up and mow. The lines will be straight and the edges will be tight. Today, I think I’ll linger in the gentle and calm eye of my hurricane a little longer than usual, because, without question, I’ll be in the wind again soon enough and that sucker can sure blow hard some days.
[EDITOR'S NOTE:"Feel Good Friday" is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: "Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!" Also, you can "friend" Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his new exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]