Summers in Arkansas are hot and humid, miserably so. This year seems even more so with numerous days recording dew points above 70 degrees.
Needless to say, I tend to move indoors more as this weather establishes itself. Spring and fall are the times to be working outside, especially when you don't have to be out there. I have to mow the grass on my yard and my lot beside it, and occasionally rental property lots. I don't have to be out there otherwise.
We're in the midst of 10-day stretch, it will be particularly ugly out there with temps expected to be around 100 degrees (+/-). I will limit activities largely to mowing and some watering of new bushes.
This has been a weird year as spring growth was really subdued, even late. Summer has been more like spring in terms of growth and rain.
Thus far in July we've had over twice the average of 3.4 inches for the month and everything looks like it.
Here's a couple of pics of the lot taken this morning. Landscape seems more like April or May (ignoring plant maturities), not July heading into August.
Ok, so much for the weather.
Lawn Mowers and Me
I have a long relationship with lawn mowers. For most of those years, I had push mowers. You know, you push them around to get anything mowed.
Well, a few years ago, I moved up to a self-propelled mower. The one above is my current version. When you engage the bottom handle on pic above, it engages the drive to push itself along while you walk behind. Let it go and you have to push it. Pretty straight forward.
The top handle is the safety cut off, which means you always grab it to keep the engine running. If you let go of it, such as when you fall on your face or some such, the engine stops.
I'm an aggressive mower. I walk fast, push and pull the mower, swing it around for turns, etc. Probably looks like some 50s dance routine to the casual observer. With regular push mowers that works great. You walk as fast as you like and the mower does what you manhandle it to do.
What I notice about a self-propelled mower is that it moves at a designed speed, a speed that is judged as appropriate to most users who would buy it and the capabilities of the mower itself. I get it. There's no variable-speed option here.
I have observed that most times I am pushing the mower to go faster. That is, I'm pushing against its mechanical settings to make it go faster. I catch myself doing this time and time again.
I'm literally wearing out the 'gears' of this mower on the opposite side of the gear teeth. Who does that?
Look, I'm aware that I generally walk faster than most people - my kids, spouses and students have commented on this behavior over the years.
It's likely associated with my task-driven orientation overall. Achievement focused, impatient with delays in getting there and not very tolerant of people who aren't so motivated.
It's just amusing to think I buy a mower to reduce the work load on my nearly 70-year-old body only to find that I'm working it harder than ever.
Lessons and Learning
Some things about our character really don't change all that much, even with time. We are who we are in a basic sense.
The best one can hope for, it seems to me, is that we can become more aware of those things that hinder us from being better people than we were in our earlier years.
From awareness comes the possibility to reign in more troublesome aspects of our character, and polish those aspects that are true strengths.
Hopefully I can be a better colleague or friend, a better spouse, or a better parent as a result of these moments of awareness.
In the mean time, I think I'll go beat up my mower some more. Grass needs subdued. The lot needs conquered - again.