My mom has one of those old fashioned, manual push mowers. By manual I mean there's no chord to pull, no key to turn; it work solely on man-power. More specifically, arm power.
This past week, my husband and I house-sat for my mom while she was soaking up some sun on Hilton Head Island, SC. Unfair, I know, but work took precedence over luxury. She was due back Saturday afternoon so I thought, being the good daughter that I am, I would cut the grass for her.
The front yard would be easy, I surmised. Most of it is pine trees so grass is limited to a small patch to the left of the drive. I lugged the old mower out of the storage shed, filled up my mason jar with ice water, and set to slicing. I should add here that slicing is a gross exaggeration. The blades haven't been sharpened in at least an eon or three. It was less mowing and more shoving the mower forward hard enough to rip the tall weeds from their roots.
Most of you are probably thinking: this woman's crazy! It's summer in Georgia and she's out there manually mowing the yard with dull blades?!? Well, perhaps I am a bit "touched". However, let me argue with this: by the time I finished the front and the back yards I was calmer than I'd been all week.
Maybe it was the brute force required to operate the contraption. Maybe it was the simple fact that being outside in the sunshine, exerting energy caused the stresses of the week to roll off my shoulders with the sweat.
I am one of those strange people who find relaxation in physical labor. I love to work outside, work with my hands, play in the dirt. If I'm on vacation (which has not happened in more years than I care to mention), I'm not one to lay in the sun on the sand. I'm the one swimming far enough out in the sea to warrant a friendly warning by the lifeguard. Riding bikes, body surfing, beach combing and, yes, swimming, do more for me than lounging ever could. Don't misunderstand. I love the opportunity to just sit and get lost in a good book as much as the next gal. But those instances are few and far between.
As of right now, I am unable to do regular yard work. Considering we don't have a yard, this isn't too much of an "ah ha" moment. The challenge has been finding ways to cut down on the stress of every day life without that luxury. My mom is more than happy to enlist in my services. Two weeks ago I spent my Saturday helping her build a chicken coop. She never asks me to mow the lawn; she's as addicted to outside work as I am! But she knows how much I enjoy it and until I am able to get my own dirt underneath my nails, I'll keep taking people up on offers of yard work. I get a great work out, a slight tan, and all my troubles melt away in the hot, southern sun.
Offering to cook dinner for me in return is a good incentive to boot ;)
PS: if you're interested in more commentary on my house sitting adventures, look no further than http://thegypsyscribe.blogspot.com!