This evening I cut the grass until the setting sun dictated that I needed to stop. There's something about a freshly mown lawn that conjures a deep sense of peace within me. In fact, if everyone on my street manages to have their grass cut at the same time, I find myself transported to a nearly euphoric state of OCD bliss. All is right with the world.
Perhaps it's the smell of fresh clippings and gasoline, the perfect lines criss-crossing the yard, or the methodical sense of progress. Perhaps it's how the drone of the engine drowns out all other distractions, including my own thoughts.
Tonight as I raced the sunset, I remembered one summer afternoon when I was twenty. I was grappling with a complex young adult issue (a.k.a., boy troubles) and had hoped to speak with a friend. She wasn't there when I arrived, so I got back in my car to return home.
On the trip back, I noticed an elderly woman cutting her grass. Her gait was slow; her yard was large. I still vividly can remember how a green leaf was stuck in her white hair, as if she just had a tussle with her apple tree.
I stopped, feeling slightly foolish, and asked if I could help.
That's how I met Anne Hahn, a woman in her 70's, a grandmother, a teacher, a missionary, and an incredible listener. An hour later, I left her house with the subtle realization that I was the one who was helped by the offer to cut her grass.
"You're breaking up with your boyfriend? Well, cut the grass, then. You always feel better after you cut the grass," she had told me.
Fifteen years later, her words still ring true.
It's a simple rule of life: regardless of how good or bad you felt before, you always feel better after cutting the grass.
Image compliments of Idiolector (flickr.com)