Pruning the chaos
Every fourth day he mowed the lawn, twice. Meticulously he paced the small patches of green bordered by manicured violets and hollyhocks growing in their spiteful profusion. He used an old push mower with the clacking blades swirling slowly. One direction, then the other.
He took a break most days with a glass of lemonade, two ice cubes and a napkin folded next to the coaster catching stray droplets of condensation. Sometimes he’d put his feet up on the wire garden stool, but most often he sat straight backed, feet squarely on the polished planks of the porch, silently accounting for the riotous garden.
Perhaps he would unfold the cotton handkerchief to mop his forehead, refolding and finger pressing the whiteness before placing it back in his breast pocket. And out would come the silver sheers. Kneeling gingerly, old knees on the worn pad of the porch seat cushion, the scissors stabbed and clipped as the shadows shortened towards noon. If the sun got too hot he’d pull his hat farther forward till there was no where else for it to go. Time for lunch. The greenery would wait out the sun shine. There was no time for rain!
Promptly at one o’clock the mail should be sorted. (On the rare day it was late and the entire day would be thrown off if it happened to be mowing day; the postmaster heard about it.) Shadows would begin to lengthen again and the lawn must be finished before the changing light made it too hard to discern what needed grooming. The bucket moved slowly about receiving the missed blades, burdocks, dandelions. A quick trip to the compost, the sheers clattered in the bucket to be sharpened, oiled and hung on their hook later during tea. Brush off the shoes and sweep the porch if it needed it, and it usually did. Barring rainy interruptions the gardens would be crying for pruning tomorrow. Enough to keep busy till it was mowing day again. And so the grass grew, loudly.
by Scott Jones