Dandelions and Devil Grass

My Take on Me Time for Mommies, introduction

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury...it speaks to my soul. It’s about summer and childhood and living like a child and really living. I love it.

The smell of candles being blown out always makes me think of birthday parties, of days when endings merge seamlessly with beginnings. It’s an exciting smell, a joyful smell, even when it’s late and the smell is coming from ordinary decorative candles being blown out for the night. There are no guests, no presents, no cake, but I still think of birthday parties.

Another smell I love is fresh mown grass in the spring. It's the first sunny weekend of the season and when you take your kids out for a walk to the park you will find every other neighbor pulling out their old lawn mowers, neglected all winter. They pace back and forth over their lawns, bringing the order of uniform length to the unruly grass that has been reaching out toward a nearly forgotten sun. In our area spring is so warm that lawns often need to be mown as early as March or April. Even though we know that there are many, many days of clouds and drizzle ahead, that smell of cut grass speaks promisingly of new life, growth, sunshine and summer.

A quote from Dandelion Wine:

"Who was the fool who made January first New Year's Day? No, instead of rachets and horns and yelling, there should be a great swelling symphony of lawn mowers reaping fresh grass. Instead of confetti and serpentine, people should throw grass spray at each other on the one day each year that really represents the Beginning!"

"That's the trouble with your generation. All the things in life that were put here to savor, you eliminate. Save time, save work, you say. When you're my age, you'll find out it's the little savors and little things that count more than big ones. If you had your way you'd pass a law to abolish all the little jobs, the little things. But then you'd leave yourselves nothing to do between the big jobs and you'd have a devil of a time thinking up things to do so you wouldn't go crazy. Cutting grass and pulling weeds can be a way of life, son."

This wise old man--the grandfather of the young boy who features as the main character--is talking about mowing with one of those old rotary blade mowers. When we had our own yard to care for that's the kind I used. No gas or oil or engines to worry about. No smell of running machinery to mingle with the pure scent of freshly cut grass. Yes it was slower, and no, it didn't cut it evenly, but I enjoyed the simplicity of the task (when there weren't mole hills to plow over or steer around). I loved the sound of the blades scraping round and round in a scissor fashion and I loved the cascading fountain of grass clippings that would fall back onto the ground where they would leave their nutrients to nourish more growth that would be another day's mowing.

And one more quote:

"Lilacs on a bush are better than orchids. And dandelions and devil grass are better! Why? Because they bend you over and sweat you and get you down where you remember you got a nose again. And when you're all to yourself that way, you're really yourself for a little while. Spin those mower blades and walk in the Fountain of Youth."

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