Don't you just love the smell of fresh-cut grass? It's like the scent-sational signal that summer is suddenly showing. (I know that was a bit of a stretch, right?)
Our entire family breathes deeply when we pass such a lawn. I also love the smell of newly tilled dirt but that's a different blog post.
Here in FL, the mowing began several weeks ago. The lawns all around our little neighborhood are beautifully manicured. Each emerald-colored carpet is thick and grows right to the edge of our road.
Starting late on Friday and all day Saturday you can hear the various models of mowers and edgers working their magic. Most of the men in our community take great pride in making sure their lawn is pristine in presentation. If they can't get to it that week for some reason, they hire the work done.
With all the rain we had from the tropical storm this week, Frank told me he's certain he can hear our grass growing.
We bought this house ten years ago from a bachelor. A fine young man who worked for another church in the area. With great diligence, he took "lawn labor" to an entirely different level.
As a bachelor, he had lots of extra time on his hands. He poured long hours into making the lawn at house 2013 look just like the greens on a professional golf course or the outfield of a baseball stadium.
His grass was uniform in height. The edging was exact. There were no brown spots to be found. He meticulously manicured his yard and it showed.
Then we moved in.
Three daughters, two dogs and a steady stream of visitors. Often those visitors drove separate vehicles to our home. Which led to parking anywhere they could find an open spot. Even if that spot was more grass than concrete.
More cars meant more unsightly patches of grass.
Some of our guests were college students driving older cars with oil leaks. Others weren't aware of what their tires were doing to our lawn. Some simply had no clue.
Brown spots began appearing where the oil had leaked. Our driveway looked like it had developed a case of leprosy. Grass died and had to be replaced regularly.
Finally, Frank gave up the impossible standard set by our predecessor. He came to peace with our less than perfect lawn condition. The anxiety of seeing cars strewn over our yard like a patchwork quilt completely disappeared. In its place came joy!
After that, more cars came to mean more hugs, more laughter and more love being shared by the drivers. And of course, More JOY! So much more joy!
Frank and I stood by our front door a few days ago waving good-bye to the last of our party guests. It had been a small group for our impromptu cook-out; only eleven cars to park. For those few hours, our lawn looked, once again, like a brightly colored quilt.
As they pulled away one by one, we began to see the huge bare spots where an impeccably groomed lawn existed just ten short summers ago. Now, our scraggly excuse for grass barely makes it to the road. (A friend recently told Frank that we have more green weeds than grass.)
For a split second I closed my eyes and envisioned the verdant lawn that had been. But then a final visitor beeped their horn and waved good-bye while calling, "Thanks! We had a great time!"
Huge smiles. Laughter echoing. Rich memories swirling. And JOY so much joy!
I took one more look at our yard and knew, it may not win any awards but I have the most beautiful lawn in the neighborhood.