- Posted May 27, 2014 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
The written word: Your personal essays
The End of Love, The beginning of yard work?
In college, I worked at The Bob Evans Farm. Not the restaurant, not the sausage plant…literally “down on the farm”. I was the farm entertainer, in other words, I played guitar and sang at the weekly overnight trail rides. Now, I also gave farm tours while driving a very large tractor pulling a wagon. My buddies had a shirt made for me with my name on the back “CRASH”…. I guess I was an entertainer on more than one front. I also cleaned out pig pens, worked in the outfitters shop, chinked old cabins and…mowed the grass. I loved my job and I truly loved mowing those big expanses of grass. It was a time to think, to sweat, to walk, to sing, to figure out life’s problems all while getting immediate gratification. I could see, row by row, as the lawn got prettier and prettier and I knew I was making progress!
When I married, the lawn was out of my job description. Not because I was unwilling, but because he loved doing it. After about 15 years, I convinced him to let me mow one time. He literally walked beside me and yelled at me each time the lawnmower hit a bump and stalled. Halfway through, I handed the handle to him and walked inside the house. I was done and did not touch another lawnmower until I had been divorced a couple years and bought my own house.
At this point, let me say that I bought the least expensive push mower I could find, a weed-eater off craigslist and a blower with the coupon I got from the lawnmower purchase. I was set and ready. My yard is about an acre, complete with a portion of weedy woods and I live in Georgia. Are you starting to get the picture?
I am trying to love yard work. With every pull of the starter, I wish I had expressed more gratitude to my ex for all of the hot days spent in Georgia summer sun, making our house look beautiful. I gaze with envy at my neighbor’s homes, everything manicured and beautiful and I start thinking, “They are going to run me out of town if I do not get it together….”
This morning, after a particularly emotionally exhausting weekend, I decided to go tackle the yard. After all, sometimes there is peace in doing mundane chores. As I was mowing all the weeds and occasional blade of grass, I started thinking about life as a single middle age woman. All of a sudden, all of these weeds represented all of the problems I have had to solve as a single. I looked at the parts of the yard that were finished and thought about how this process is so much like daily living. You hack away at the problems over and over. Sometimes, if you get really lucky, the weed killer actually works and for a while, there is peace in part of the yard. That peace, however, is usually temporary because another weed is on its way to take over where the last one left off.
There are days that navigating the dating world feels like tackling my lawn. Everywhere I look there are issues I need to deal with. There are weeds to whack, ant beds to obliterate, trees to prune, hedges to shape and flowers to nurture. There are dates that are duds, guys that don’t call, romances that begin and quickly die, romances that become friends and just plain crazies to deal with.
As I mow, I have the illusion that all of the issues are gone and what is left is nothing short of beautiful. In a day or so, the dandelions will begin waving their yellow heads and the ants will start re-building. After each new relationship comes and goes, it is time to take a long look at the yard that is my life and try to figure out what I need to do to make beauty the reality and not just the temporary solution.