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Lawn Mowing – a parable on the creative process

Today, I had an idea. The idea was to get my lawn mowed.

The grass was getting tall, and my wife’s patience was probably beginning to wane. After all, it is my job to keep up on the lawn.

I don’t really like mowing, per se. I do enjoy having a beautiful lawn that the kids can enjoy and that is attractive to all. I love having a lawn. I’m glad that I’m a homeowner with a lawn- some don’t have that. But I do. It’s perfect for cookouts and relaxing or playing. When it’s mowed, it’s a real benefit.

But back to the issue at hand. It needed to be mowed. Well, it was time for it. I had put it off long enough. I had the time to do it. You know, I could pay someone to do it. There are a lot of other people that could really do a better job at it. But, this is my lawn. If I pay someone else, I won’t have the satisfaction of having done it myself. I need to take pride in my lawn. It may not win any awards, like best lawn in the neighborhood, but that’s OK. I need to take care of my own lawn. And right now it needed mowed.

It’s kind of cold today. It’s a lot colder than when I usually mow. That’s just an excuse to put it off, so I put on long sleeves, shorts, and mowing shoes. Alright, I’m committed to doing this, and seeing it through to the end.

I got the key to the shed, opened it up, and started moving the mess of bikes out of the way. When one pedal got stuck in the spokes of another bike, I almost got mad trying to get it out! Finally, I got the mower out of the little, and granted, unorganized shed.

That mower. How long have I had it? It’s pretty old. I can’t stand this thing. But it’s a necessity for having my lawn mowed.

Do I start in the back yard or the front yard today? The front yard’s a piece of cake. I can do that in no time. It’s the back yard that is my kryptonite. I don’t by any means have a big yard. It’s a decent size. But to someone who, isn’t really outdoorsy, who doesn’t care for mowing, it’s a huge task! Today, I decided to save the front for last. Tackle the more difficult part early and save the easy part for the homestretch. If the front’s really bad, I usually start there.

With all in place, I tried starting that old mower. No luck. I tried again. I’m not giving up that easily. No dice. I know a few tricks on this thing. If I take it around to the front, on the driveway, it should start right up…. nope.  Not today. What a piece of junk! Let’s see, it has oil, gas. I unplug and plug the spark plug back in. I turn it on its side, move the blade with my shoe. Pull hard, lifting it up a little. None of my tricks are working today! All is in place, but the engine is not firing up. Only for a second or two. The cord’s not even going back like it should.

Now I’m ready to give up. I’ve hit a huge obstacle before I’ve even begun. I really should upgrade my equipment. I could put this out on the curb and give it away for free to some sorry fool who would then have to put up with it. If I had one of those mowers that is motorized and takes less effort, I’d mow more often. If I had a riding mower, I could mow the whole neighborhood! But I don’t. I’ve only got this old junky mower. It’s cracked cage is lop-sided and looks like the mower’s grinning at me- mocking me even.

I’m not going to let this beat me. I set out to mow the lawn. I will have a finished lawn, if it’s the last thing I do. One more time, I gripped the bent handle as hard as I could and pulled that cord something fierce, all the while lifting the front wheels. It started up!

I’m in business now, to the back yard I go. Now what do to? Sometimes I mow in rows, sometimes triangles. I suppose some of you are like me. Have to switch it up now and then. Keep things interesting. Maybe some have a set way of mowing. A process from which they never deviate. Well, today I chose to work my way all around the edge and then back. I suppose I’m making a game out of it, or maybe I’m trying to figure which way is best, but I never have timed myself or anything.

Aw, man. The mower quit on me. In the really thick stuff, I even went slower. If I could tell it was about to die on me, I’d lift up on the handle. But it happened. And pretty quickly. I’m just getting started and already after a slow start, now I’m ready to throw in the towel again. My equipment for mowing has become unresponsive, but the good thing is that I am able to restart it. This happened a couple times actually, but once I got past the worst part it was smooth sailing.

In the end, I was able to finish. I executed my plan. Now I have a beautiful lawn again, because I did the work. Well, I mowed. Weed-eating…that’s another story.


It’s probably pretty obvious, but did you figure out all of the symbolism here????

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