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The Season Of Grass

By Tom Poland
web posted April 24, 2015

LIFE DOWN SOUTH Ė Seven-thirty in the evening. Redbirds perch on bamboo stalks as hummingbirds engage in dogfights over feeders. The water from my fountain burbles. Itís peaceful. A good time to sip a real drink and reflect. Not one but two lawnmowers fire up to the west. So much for a tranquil evening, but I donít mind. The season of grass brings birds, thunderstorms, fireflies, pleasant days, and nights of serenading cicadas.

It brings, too, backroad getaways and the fertile smell of rain-spattered dirt roads. If noisy lawnmowers come with summer so be it. Itís a small price to pay. And besides I like cutting grass.

The whining mowers donít whine long but the fresh fragrance of newly cut grass does. It fills the air with sweetness and recall. I canít smell freshly mown grass without thinking of football. Grass and sports go together.

For seven years I owned a condominium and a yard service took care of the grass. For seven condo summers I never cut grass and that started one of my sorrier phases. Cutting grass is a ritual that teaches you things. You learn to be a bit of a mechanic. Sometimes a finicky mower doesnít want to start. Clean the air filter and put a new spark plug in. Keep the blade sharp and at the right height.

Taking care of a lawn teaches you a bit about insects. If you have St. Augustine and I do, you learn that chinch bugs are bad news. And, of course, you have to deal with fire ants. You learn a bit of chemistry too when it comes to dealing with pesticides and fertilizers.

Keeping a nice lawn is good for your self-esteem. My neighbor and I engage in friendly turf wars. Weíre the only folks on our court who give our all to our lawns and it shows.
Cutting grass is good exercise. Donít forget the sunscreen. Drink lots of water. And pity those who use a riding mower with a cup holder for their beer. Thatís not yard work!

Trying to perfect a lawn teaches you humility. Invariably weeds and bugs do it in no matter how hard you work on it. Seeing a brown patch of dead grass says one thing: ďYou got work to do fella.Ē

Maintaining a lawn requires discipline. Itís Saturday and recent rains really got that Scotts Turf Builder working. The grass is high but your friends want you to come to the lake for the day. Tomorrow itís going to rain and if you go to the lake, a week will pass before you can cut the grass. Crank that mower up and start pushing it.

The season of grass brings out the meteorologist in you. Here in the city the water bill can get pretty high. Nothing pleases me more than to see a splash of red and yellow thunderstorms on the Weather Channelís radar. Knowing rainís coming makes a big difference to my water bill and state of mind.

Keeping a healthy lawn makes you a bit of a wildlife watcher. For four years now a grass snake has lived in my front yard (above). Each summer I look for him and am always glad to know he made it through the winter.

All these things I missed for seven summers. Well, never again. Yard work keeps me out of trouble. Maybe thatís why a lot of city types tangle with the law. Maybe living around all that hot cement makes them hardened criminals. (Drum roll!)

Keeping a lawn healthy keeps you busy. Thereís the pre-emergent weed phase. Then as the grass greens up, itís time to lay down turf builder. Then weeks of mowing and edging arrive. After the season of grass ends autumn leaves fall. I mulch them with the lawnmower giving it a late autumn and early February workout. Then, at last, I rake whatís left of the leaves and look forward to the season of grass and good memories. When I was eight Dad paid me a dime to cut the front yard with an old reel mower. That shiny dime? It was the first money I earned.

Yes, I love cutting grass. When the grass is cut and that rich green St. Augustine looks like carpet, complete with a neat edge along the driveway itís a thing of beauty. I walk the grounds surveying my grass kingdom and crack open a cold beverage. You know the kind I mean. The best moment in a Saturday has arrived and if my calculations are right, I expect to have twenty or more sublime Saturdays thanks to the season of grass.

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