The ump of backyard mowing
Nothing quite says summer like that perfect combination of sunshine and lawn mowing. The only thing better is when that warm afternoon arrives on a freakishly warm spring day when the grass is lush and I hear those magical words, “Go ahead, honey, you can mow the lawn.”
I love to mow. The headphones snug around my head, my favorite tunes blasting in my ears, and the sound of the mower drowning out the rest of the world. Besides the hum of the blade spinning and the occasional vocal solo, it’s a perfectly peaceful world behind the handle of that mower, and I enjoy every stripe as I pace up and down the yard.
Unless it’s a freakishly warm day in spring.
As much as I love nature and backyard critters, I have a strict leg rule that I adhere to, no matter what. In the past week I have rescued baby bunnies and turtles as they partake in their vernal activities, but I draw the line at snakes. Two legs, good. Four legs, good. Six or even eight legs, good. No legs? No way.
I don’t particularly enjoy snakes, especially when I’m not expecting them. Even less so when I’m jamming away behind the mower and one decides to play long-grass-chicken and test my reflexes by slithering right in the path of the spinning blade.
In the words of my neighbor who had just rounded the corner of his garage, I suddenly went into spasms and there was loud shrieking where the sound of the lawnmower once was. In my defense, it was a less than calm display of attempting to save the life of the legless creature who decided to dart into the path of certain death. Not wanting to have to clean snake guts out of the inner workings of the blade, it was truthfully with great stealth, precision, and slight hysterics that I managed to save the life of that poor garter snake.
In fact, within the time span of 20 minutes, I had saved the lives of two Kamikaze snakes who thought they were really funny. (As if they couldn’t see my perfectly parallel stripes and know what was coming.) Twice, the zen of my grass cutting afternoon was interrupted by these tormenting reptiles who I’m sure were laughing at me as they wiggled away into the safety of the brush while I paced around and patted my chest and took deep breaths.
“Do you want me to finish mowing?” my husband asked.
“No, I can do it,” I replied, mustering the strength to combat the 18-inch long beasts while I hid behind a machine strong enough to tear each scale from scale.
“But that was two snakes in just a short bit of time. You know what they say, ‘three snakes and I’m out. And never mowing again.’”
Originally written/published 4.19.15.