Reel Mowers and Real Change

Violet Lawn
Violet Lawn

My weekend to myself consisted of mowing the front and back lawn, pulling weeds, planning the taming of all things scrub and brush and lush North Carolina wild. There are still plants to get in the ground and whole sections of yard to manage, hedges to clip back. And all of the mowing with a Reel Mower – the kind that makes a whirring sound, the kind that my cat, Naji, does not mind lying in the yard watching me work with, the kind where he’ll lie there and just wait until it whirs right by his ears and then scoot away from, scattering wildly and rapidly as if I’ve had the unmitigated gall (totally ignoring the fact that I was mowing and then he decides to lie down 2 “rows” away from my current focus, looking as if he might actually tackle the whirring thingamajig), the kind of mower that does not ask for gas or oil or someone a little more knowledgeable about “lawn mowers” to fix. I love it. It’s exhausting and requires that I master 4 levels of “lawn” since my home rests on a hill with the front yard flat and then the side yard sloping steadily and steeply down to semi-flatness and then sheer drop-hill with a bit of a flat shelf (with a tree) and then, after the sheerest drop, there’s more flat. That’s 4 levels. It’s a total body workout.


While the word “lawn” typically conjures images of grass, this lawn is mostly clover, a bit of grass, chickweed, tons of violets and more clover. This is the worst year of weeds yet. So, I pull them up…except for the violets. Can’t do that, they’re far too pretty. So…I just mow them down, cringing, wishing I could’ve picked them all first. But that’s impossible. There are dozens and dozens. It’s one of those ridiculous but purple scenarios. I marvel at them as they dot my lawn and then I have to mow them down. I beg them to grow back as I watch them whiz through the blades, slinging purple and white bits and pieces all around.


This is my second season of Reel mowing. I admit to being daunted initially but Reel mowers are lighter, quieter and effective enough to put a yard in trimmed status. It goes well with my changing world where the yardwork and all else I had to care for before separation is mine without help. Of course, my kids can do some of the work, even some of the mowing. But this is a great time of finding my capacity to shape my world without the influence of a marriage that hummed with the lie of my inadequacy. It was not a lie started by the marriage but it certainly thrived there. It’s amazing to find healing in row after row of grass mowed, of barren landscape blooming.


And oftentimes it really is that simple. As the soul and body do their dance of unity across the canvas of life, healing occurs. Until then we sometimes face roadblocks. Sometimes we cannot fully join with others ‘til we’ve proven to self those things, those tasks and landmark transformations essential to the individual or simply whatever we personally require ourselves to prove by doing or simply by trying to do. It’s not about adopting a generalized rule of thumb but about knowing what is true for one. And cultivating those personal truths can be the difference between living and existing. 


What do you require of yourself? Everyone has requirements but they so often exist under a pile of expectations not original to the individual. As I find those personal requirements, I find a solid place to thrive. And my relationships transform. The price won’t usually be as high as the one I’ve had to pay with some more significant life changes. But it’s so worth the effort.



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I live... for love... for truth that liberates... for growth... for beauty... for intelligent, soulful connection and so much else.

One thought on “Reel Mowers and Real Change

  1. the zen of mowing the lawn. cleaning and clearing within. I understand, though have no lawn here, and truly do miss the ritual. Green thumb we may claim, though as you say, “it is not about adopting a generalized rule of thumb, but knowing what is true for one. And cultivating those personal truths can be the difference between living and existing.” I long for living.

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