Thursday, June 12, 2008

A Path in the Grass

I promised myself I would hang sheetrock tonight in the garage after dinner. I hung one sheet and started to feel restless. It did not seem to be right to work inside a garage on an evening like this. Well, I thought, I could mow the grass, a noisy chore, but at least I would be outside and still get something usefull done..I found myself on the riding mower. Without a glance or a thought I steered away from our yard and out across the fields. Reasoning that I was mowing a path to walk on later.
I drove on, mowing across the field far enough that I wondered how many miles per gallon a riding lawn mower gets. As I mowed I thought of one of my grandpa's who had a bad leg. He would drive his lawn mower around the yard, out to the mailbox or up to the chicken coop. Many of my memories of him include a lawn mower. I've heard of old people, not completely in their right mind who escape on golf carts or lawn mowers driving to some unknown distant and more satisfactory place to be collected later by fussing relatives who shake their heads in amusement or dismay.
I think they, the escapees, are not addled. They are seeing the world from another point of view. As I drive this train of thought leaves my mind. I am noticing my surroundings. The sun is low near the horizon and halfway behind a cloud. This evening light has magic in it. I have seen it many, many times but it is always new. Everything near and far seems to be focused and sharp beyond reason. I imagine I can see individual leaves on distant trees. The texture of the high grass draws my eyes and invites me to touch. I notice there are different kinds of grasses with different kinds of seed tops. I see the verigated leaves of clover and the flowers on the vetch are very purple as if the color eminates from inside the blossom . I look at the clouds in the sky and see a towering thunderhead floating by like a giant battleship, the top illuminated by the setting sun.
Suddenly I feel foolish trapped on the noisy lawnmower. My only thought is to hurry home and park it so that I can return to the fields on foot and in silence. My goal is to catch the last light of day on the fields of grass. I reach home and the sun is fading fast. No time to convince someone to come with me. Even though our house is surrounded by every kind of grass, I had to get back to the same place where I first noticed the evening light. I took a camera and started to run on the trail I mowed. As I ran through the field camera in hand I could smell summer and feel the evening comming. Fresh mowed grass mingled with the fragrance of clover blossoms and a thousand other plants unknown to me. Warm summer air on my face would suddenly give way to cool moist air that felt like evening, then back again to warm fragrant air of summer. In the morning the fields would be coverd with dew, cool fog hanging in the low spots. I felt it before it could be seen.
Tonight I managed to hang one piece of sheetrock and mowed a path through the middle of one hundred acres of grass and watched the sun set while a cloud that looked like a battleship sailed by. Who would have known it could be such a productive evening.

No comments: