Today I mowed my lawn for the last time.
Wait, that sounds wistful, and I am anything but wistful. I have always hated mowing the lawn and spent countless hours digging up sod to put in trees, bushes, a pond, a slate walkway that meanders to said pond, a couple of boulders, and a largish vegetable garden behind the garage. I have never understood the concept of lawn, though I suspect it implies an unhealthy wish to dominate nature. I am dismayed by neighbors with small yards who spend hours mowing their grass aboard tiny, noisy tractors, and do so in intricate patterns that copy those of major league baseball fields.
One man two doors down earned my respect during the last millennium by taking a Bobcat to his lawn, tearing out the grass, and then letting weeds and wildflowers bloom. The neighbors on his right, an uptight couple with His and Hers Mercedes, were unhappy. They spent a lot of money and took him to court to prove his yard was an eyesore, and he defeated their attempts to regulate his vegetation by displaying photos he’d taken of the wildlife living there.
I emulated him and there is an area of my yard that I have let run free. It is no more than 100 square feet. Wild grapes, nettles, shrubbery of unknown origins, and even poison ivy have settled there. A few years ago, I applied and got a Certified Wildlife Habitat status for this tiny plot because it offered “food, water, cover, and a place to raise young.” I am inordinately proud of my minute attempt at returning the land to its original state. I know for a fact that a blue jay family has nested there, and I’m pretty certain there’s a rabbit burrow as well.
I will throw out my lawn-mowing shoes, a pair of sneakers so foul they are not allowed into the house. I plan to sell my lawnmower this week. I will not miss it.