Comments 10

Push Mower Poetry {Intentionality in Living Beautifully}

Blade, blur, whirl

Through the grass.

Line, turn, line,

We push, we pass–

Slice, flick, fly

A carpet green

As emerald feathers

Newly preened.

Many years ago I worked for a woman with four boys ages twelve, four and an identical pair of 10 month-old twins. She was inundated with boyhood. Her household was so overstocked with males, the man-cave was the house not merely a room in the basement.

She mowed the grass for escape.

Why she cut grass for fun was beyond me.

But I was young then. Stepping fresh into married life, I had not yet experienced the shock of discovering how children could destroy the family room in less time than it takes to shower.

A couple years (ahem, decades) later, I get her. I really get her.

And each time I weed the garden or cut the grass I remember her wise–and exhausted–words:

“I cut the grass because it stays cut. It looks nice and clean and even and green for at least a few days-which is more than I can say for any room in my house!”

I mow the lawn for the same reason as my out-numbered friend. A freshly trimmed lawn makes me giddy, actually. My entire garden looks manicured and ready for a photo-shoot for House & Garden Magazine. Okay, almost that good.

Evenly clipped grass proffers the same aesthetic satisfaction as clean carpet does for a house. I could skip dusting for months and feel like my home is sparkling clean if the carpets are vacuumed, unstained and fluffy enough to nestle a sleeping newborn.

We recently purchased this nifty woman-powered push mower and I now get to call mowing a workout, too. I love feeling strong enough to push the sheering machine with it’s dangerous, spinning knives up and down the hill that is my front yard.

Those pirouetting blades slice a rhythm of white noise in the morning air that reminds me of the constant buzz of bees at my lavender (rather than the usual gas-powered drone). I huff in time to it’s beat as I tread straight paths.

My mower is beautiful.

It helps me bring order to my otherwise cluttered, creative, chaotic life. It draws me outdoors and into the sunshine. It makes me produce Vitamin D, boosts my metabolism and provides time alone (another reason my friend scheduled weekly lawn-mowing dates–she was nursing those twins!) that is precious and uninterrupted.

How do we seek out Beautiful and let her sink into our souls?

Seeking out beauty is an act of intention. Engaging in beauty is stepping beyond being entertained or distracted. It requires overturning stones and seeing the divine in the life that teems beneath, startling and unusual. Can I press against the walls of my imagination and search for something that does not appear beautiful that might hold true beauty?

Sometimes beauty demands difficult work. Creative work is messy and sometimes ugly. Childbirth is the perfect example of astounding beauty and messy humanity–but the gift of that new life, the sheer miraculousness of it — that is the splendor. Am I willing to push through the challenge to find the lovely reward? What if that challenge is an angry teenager or a disappointing marriage–am I willing to push through, breathe and reach for the beauty?

And, discovering beauty means appreciating the perfect moments without demanding perfection. My garden has taught me that as much as my marriage, my church or my family. Perfect moments are dewdrops suspended upon broken spiderwebs. Each watery orb bends light into miniature lenses, turning pictures of the landscape upside-down; catching light and throwing it in a dazzling game. Every one a perfect miracle set in the strands of brokenness.

photo by Bella Santos

There is beauty in the hushing, shushing song of my mower blades, music in the chatter of children playing, poetry in the tendril of a snap-pea vine. Beauty is there, a gift unwrapped and in plain view, holding it’s breath in suspense, wondering–will we see it today?

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights,

with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. {James 1:17}

This subject was prompted by The Bonnie Gray at Faith Barista




  1. Joy says

    After reading your article I wan’t to set my headthe one that feels like our Grandpa’s old black bowling ball that he used as a lawn ornament that said “NO SOLICITING” in his flowerbed down in mine and go out this morning and work in my yard!!! Instead I will be grateful for your elation & thankful that Randy & Lydia enjoy keeping “My” yard beautiful! After they treat, mow & trim they come in the house & update me on the details! I find my bliss in this!

  2. Great challenge here: “Am I willing to push through the challenge to find the lovely reward?” And the example of childbirth is a perfect one for that. I’m thankful God and His beautiful love is found through all! Thanks for sharing!

  3. I used to enjoy mowing the grass for many of those same reasons. 🙂

    “Seeking out beauty is an act of intention.”
    You have this exactly right!

  4. I love the way you express this so poetically – the words are good enough to eat. Beauty is there: a gift unwrapped, indeed. We just need to open our eyes and ears…

  5. I love to cut grass too. That is the only time I can escape a few minutes from “Mommy … can you …?” I can also escape from my cell phone. Ahhhh. I totally get it!

    I agree, beauty is found in so many things, sounds, smells … we are blessed!


  6. I enjoyed your “push mower poetry” / thoughts on beauty… it is indeed intentional, a “seeking out”. I love that you say it can be messy and isn’t perfect– those are such good thoughts for me. I believe I still tend to think of beauty in these terms without realizing I’m doing it. 🙂 I didn’t write today for Faith Barista’s link-up (sometimes I do)… although what a great topic for today!

    Thank you for visiting my blog by way of Hazel and for your kind comments. 🙂 (Yes–she does have a great name!) And you should certainly try a sestina! Let me know when you’re written one, I’d love to read it! I’ve had fun trying it out. So nice to meet you. I’m a new Twitter follower (and I’ll try the Networked Blogs– I just set mine up the other day… I think it’s working… but I don’t know for sure, I’m still figuring it out!)

  7. Ah, beautiful!
    I am 45 with a 10 year old daughter, and just learning so much about beauty as you describe it. Intentional, pushing through, even through tears, to hope in God. Finding true the gift of grace.

  8. I can smell the scent of freshly mowed grass. Why they won’t bottle it and sell it to Glade for their room scenters, I don’t know.

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