Friday, May 25, 2012
Why is it raining?
That's what I'm thinking this morning at 9:56 AM. Rain in late May in southern California is unsettling. The sky is gray and the wind is rustling through the palm fronds. Do you know what that sounds like? There's a carrot cake in the oven, the beds are made and the children are at school. I'm contemplating buying a lawn mower and making my strapping boys mow the lawn from here on out. Just like rain in late May, mowing your own lawn in southern California is an anomaly. Jesus has been doing the yard work (other than gardening) at my bungalow for nearly fifteen years -- Jesus, the gardener, practically part of the family -- probably more a part of the family than that other Jesus. Jesus has a huge business, I'm certain, and it probably won't make much difference if I up and tell him that my two strapping boys will be mowing the lawn from here on out. I'll ask him to come every month or so and do the heavier yard work -- the weed whacking, edging, the hauling of fallen palm fronds. He'll still be doing all the yard work for the big mansions and the people who can't be bothered. I remember doing yard work as a kid growing up in Atlanta. We lived in a big house with an even bigger yard. My father taught my sisters and me to mow the lawn because he had no sons. My sister and I had the mowing down to a system -- The Front Hill, The Side Yard, The Side Side, The Back, The Back Side. My father might as well have had a whistle and a megaphone given how exacting his standards were for Mowing the Lawn. We had to go carefully around the trees and not miss any spots. We had to let the grass fly out and then rake it up, dump it in a wheelbarrow and then wheel it into the woods behind our house. We begged him to let us bag it, and to this day I don't know why he didn't let us. Sharp shards of southern green would stick to the sweat on your skin and sometimes the motor would die and you'd have to stand there and pull that damn cord over and over to re-start the engine. At one point, mowing the lawn caused me to have allergy attacks, so I got to stop doing it. My sister called them "allergy attacks," and I think she was very resentful. One day, it was snowing lightly in Atlanta in the early winter, an anomaly, just like rain in southern California in late May, and my father made her mow the lawn. I think she swore as she cranked up the mower and my father grounded her. I wonder what the boys will do when I start making them mow the lawn? I wonder why it's raining? What would Jesus do?