that it was the funnest thing I do in life. (My husband, Hule, mumbled an indignant comment in the background :).)
What was that “thing”? Mowing.
My love affair with mowing began one summer when I was about 11 or 12. I wanted a 10-speed yellow Schwinn bicycle and my dad said if I mowed the lawn for the summer he would buy it for me. So, week by week that summer, I befriended the delightful smell of cut grass, learned the skill of pushing a purring machine in a straight line, and acquired a taste for this delicious cocktail of exercise, sunshine, aromatherapy and beauty.
Fast forward to 2014 when we moved to our Jessamine farm. We had only a push mower and the uneven terrain, big yard, and my age combined to quell my love for mowing until, low and behold, we were gifted with a lovely John Deere riding lawnmower. I was in heaven!
Besides mowing our yard, we had gotten a grant to plant native grasses, forbes, and flowers on several acres on the back of our property, and I relished preparing the fields with a thorough haircut before planting.
Once the flowers and grasses came in (Purple Coneflower, Black-eyed Susan, Little Bluestem, Virginia Wild Rye, Tall Dropseed, Partridge Peas, and Illinois Bundle Flower), I began cutting paths through them so we could walk freely in the fields. This was the best! The sun would begin to set and I filled with endorphins and life-enhancing neurotransmitters as I finished up week after week during the summers. Eventually I began expanding the mowing to create what I called “living rooms”—little mowed spaces furnished with chairs or benches and decorated for rest, gathering or solitude, prayer and contemplation. I now have 9 living rooms…& counting:
1. Camp Julian
2. Hazel’s Haven
3. Julianne’s Hideaway
4. Sarah’s Secret Spot
5. Memorial Point
6. Naked Holy Rocks
7. The Forest Trail
8. Matt’s Man Cave
9. The Anchorhold
Sometime in the future I will try and feature each of these on the blog with photos and explanations.
This year we added a new mower to our “fleet”. It’s an Exmark riding lawnmower whom I have named Hildegard, Hildy for short, after one of my favorite saints, Hildegard of Bingen. We also have been given a Honda ATV named Ruby, and when the sad time comes that the fields and paths and living rooms are all cut, Ruby and I go tour the grounds together surveying the Gardens.
In Eden tending the garden and naming were the tasks given by God to the first humans. We were made for this. We find meaning, hope, and home, finding ourselves and one another, with our Creator, while tending, walking, and soaking in beauty.
I encourage you today, to go find Eden, observe place and nature long enough to name, find our Creator in an outdoor living room and chat, discover fun and meaning while tending the beauty of your place and paths.