Essay: Mrs. Fix-it finds pleasure in growing a lawn

When you feel beaten down, think about the grass.

Looking back over the year that I've been on my own, I can see that in a limited way, I've become a Mrs. Fix-it. There have been many house and yard tasks that needed doing, and often they seemed a bit intimidating. But I knew that it was important at least to consider that a particular task might be possible for me to do. And so my mantra has become, "I think I can do that."

My support system in this fix-it activity has been my local hardware store, and in particular, my new friend Pat. She has guided me through driveway sealant, door stoppers, drain unclogging, and "green" light bulb choices. All of this was pretty mundane, but necessary to maintaining my home.

The mundane changed to serendipity with my introduction to grass seed. It all began when a kind neighbor aerated my front lawn. Since we'd had summer drought conditions, there were plenty of bare spots, so I knew that reseeding would be a logical next step after the aerating.

I mentally roped off what I thought would be a manageable area and then planted and dutifully watered the grass seed. After a short time, the area was filled with lovely green blades of grass. I couldn't keep from looking at that grass and appreciating the beauty and wonder of it. And perhaps feeling a bit proud of myself, too.

After some landscaping work, I found another area where grass was needed. With Pat's help, and because it was now later in the growing season, I purchased a fast growing rye. And again I planted patches of grass seed. This time the rains provided all the needed water, and it, too, came up in a small blanket of green.

Then, in mid-December, and so not too late, according to Pat, to plant grass seed here in the South, I planted and strawed still another small area. Rain watered the seed, and I again watched closely for those lovely green blades to appear.

I don't suppose that most folks think much about grass (unless you're the one who cuts it), but as a result of all of my planting, grass has been filling my thoughts.

First of all, I've been laughing a bit at myself because of the fun I've had in seeding those bare patches in my yard. (And I have an eye on a few other places; there's half a bag of rye left and plenty of straw.) I know the grass growth was seed-impelled and not of my doing, but there is something so reinforcing and joyous in seeing those rich green blades first appear and then get fuller and fuller with time. I've felt an integral part of their success.

I have also developed great respect for those grass seeds. Indeed I am awed by them. Each is a small but complete growth "machine," having within it what is required to become a clump of grass that will keep on growing and growing despite any cutting or nibbling. What an amazing presentation of life! And I'm grateful for how the grass beautifies and also feeds creatures on our earth.

I have remembered something else about grass. At a point of trouble in my life, a friend said, "Be like the grass." Grass gets stepped on and beaten down from footsteps, tires, rushing water. When that happens, it just bends, it yields. It doesn't appear to fight back or to resist. And when the threat – whatever it is – is over, those blades of grass spring back and go right on being grass.

Good advice for any of us during times when we may feel "beaten."

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