Most of our snow disappeared this week. We'll have a few more snowstorms in April, but that snow will melt quickly. It always seems funny this time of year to have no walls around the driveway, no snowbanks along the road. With any luck, I can put the snow shovels away until October.
This morning when I walked out to pick up a few odds and ends left over from the winter - a plastic toboggan hidden in the side woods, a roll of duct tape hanging on a tree branch - I noticed how long the deadish grass on the lawn is. (I use the word lawn kind of loosely here - it's the land nearest the house that I mow to keep down the poison ivy.) Then I remembered that there was a reason I stopped using the lawn mower last fall.
I remember mowing the lawn on a gorgeous day last September. I must have had papers to grade or something because I remember that being outside in the sunshine was some kind of guilty pleasure. As I mowed the lawn, I could smell the scent of burning. How nice, I thought, here I am in the country, surrounded by the beauty of nature, with the great autumn smell of burning leaves. As I mowed, I was noticing the blue of the sky, the leaves on the birch trees turning yellow, the feel of the sun on my forearms, and it was all so wonderful that I felt like a character in a cliche.
Then I thought to myself: Why does that burning smell seem to be so close by? And what neighbor would be home during the day on a Tuesday?
Then it occurred to me to look down. Flames were shooting from lawn mower. Damned lawn mower was on fire.