Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Random Thoughts While Doing Yard Work

Allow me to say this: I grew up in a house surrounded by concrete. Ex-Mr. Mag grew up in a house surrounded by paid staff. Whatever possessed the two of us to purchase a house with a lawn... a small lawn, mind you, but a lawn nonetheless... I never will know.

So there I was using my edge trimmer to mow the whole lawn (which has, among other challenges, patches of moss in some places, weeds everywhere, patches of overgrown ivy creeping down, lots of sticks from tree branches taken out by summer storms). And suddenly in my head are the words of Mrs. Lovett's first song from Sweeney Todd.

A customer!
Wait! What's your rush?
What's your hurry?
You gave me such a...
fright! I thought you was a ghost!
Half a minute, can't ya sit?
Sit ya down!
All I meant is that I haven't seen a customer for weeks.
Did ya come here for a pie, sir?
Do forgive me if my head's a little vague.
What is that?
But you'd think we had the plague.
From the way that people
keep avoiding!
No you don't!
Heaven knows I try, sir!
But there's no one comes in even to inhale!
Right you are, sir, would you like a drop of ale?
Mind you I can hardly blame them!
These are probably the worst pies in London.
I know why nobody cares to take them!
I should know!
I make them!
But good? No...
The worst pies in London...
Even that's polite! The worst pies in London!

Except, in my head, the words were... "The worst lawn in My-town!"

Ususally I badger Larry-O into doing the lawn. He hates, loathes, despises and abominates it. Then he says something nasty to me. Then he does it. Then he apologizes and says, "I'm so spoiled." Is this story sounding familiar? I think Jesus talked about someone who said "Hell no!" when his mom asked him to mow, but went ahead and did it anyway. He comes out better in the story than the other guy, the yes man who goes and plays video games.

But I digress. Larry-O is in college 180 miles away (having the time of his life, from all accounts!). And Petra is running for secretary of the student council, so... needless to say, I'm the lawn lady. And I don't hate it. It's actually incredibly satisfying to do something that has such an obvious, tangible result-- it looks way better out there. WAY better. And the grass smells good as it gives up the ghost. I did decaptitate a worm, though. I had no remorse. Then I remembered the Zen koan shared with my class by one of my favorite professors of all time, the Very Fabulous Sr. Joan Chittister, with whom I studied Benedictine spirituality once upon a grad school.

In each pocket you should have a piece of paper.
On one, it should be written, "You are as lowly as the lowest worm that crawls upon the earth."
On the other, it should be written, "You are the most glorious of God's creations, and all the stars in the heavens were created for your pleasure."

No comments: