The Sweet Summer Sound Of... Lawnmowers?
SCOTT SIMON, host:
One day soon you might be able to mow the lawn with an iPhone, but not yet. So if you have a yard, you still have to rely on a lawnmower to cut the grass. Correspondent Sean Hurley reflects on this pastime of summer.
(Soundbite of lawnmower)
SEAN HURLEY: It was 7:15 in the morning, a Saturday, when the lawnmowers came back. Two of my neighbors, one near and one far, had seen the checkered flag of summer and were off and cutting. I awoke to what I thought were a pair of lions on the higher plateau, singing like crickets in a constant roar. All winter long the grass lays crushed beneath the boot of snow. When the snow stomps off, the grass stands up. And when the grass stands up, flash green and luxurious, the lawnmowers come stumbling out, dazzled as bears from their cave of sheds.
Then we push or ride them along the invented maze of our backyards, shaping out geometries, squares of tall trouble, triangles to harvest. The improvised poetry, the made up math of it. Like motorized rivers, we glide down our lanes. Rolling the left wheels over the silvered path they made the last trip down. So convenient you can see where youve been. The green cuttings fan out over the road like a fallen fence. The birds whistle long and short, and flicker and fly and find their chairs in any tree or anything high to watch and ignore us at the same time, as they do, like everything wild.
All summer long the lawnmowers spin around our heads like homemade bees, cutting the grass, keeping the wildness tight and runable(ph). Nipping about the rooty napes of our small trees, grasping under the wide dresses of our rhododendrons. The sound of the lawnmowers is the hypnosis of summer. As we ladies and gentlemen start our engines, the earth obliges and starts up its grass. Softly, over the old flat earth we rove and love and try to keep well in the way we imagine best.
It is a race of sorts with a finish line of snow. But this is just something we like to do, side by side, when it gets hot. Pretending our pleasure is our work, and finally when the lawn is cut and the mower stopped - standing for a moment in the quivering silence, as though weve turned ourselves into the purest air.
For NPR News, I'm Sean Hurley in Thornton, New Hampshire.
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