In contrast to my otherwise secular and atheistic life, I do still hold close one sacrament as ordained by my own humanistic worldview. The exploration of the mind, the construction of complex machinations within a massively multiplayer online game, the contemplation of universal truth, the outbreak of the music of the Beatles, and the unification of the standard model with one of quantum gravity; all of these wonderful concepts converge on a single activity, whose mystical properties are capable of provoking the most profound of thought: that activity is mowing the lawn. I believe in the power of contemplation; the results of isolation; and the process of argument with the self. And I believe that mowing the lawn is the one experience in which all people can take part in these things.
I believe in mowing the lawn. Sitting on a tractor, or pushing a mower, following the same motions, with the roar of the engine blocking all other noises, opens a perfect window for exploration. When I’m mowing the lawn, my mind is free to take a trip. Sometimes that trip is deeply philosophical; it was while mowing the lawn that I came to the conclusion that religion was extraneous and thus formed my worldview, each passing revolution of the tractor tackling another unanswered question and bringing about a new logical paradox, with the added benefit of keeping the grass tidy. Of course, sometimes the mind chooses a path less scholarly; many a’ time have I found myself singing through the White Album at the top of my lungs, reveling in the thought that only I could hear my squawkings. And that’s okay. Mowing the lawn is an outlet for all the flotsam that’s been gathered up throughout the week. I can pick and choose what I want to process, throwing the excess to the ground to be mowed up, and tossing that which is meaningful into the maze of thought. It’s impossible to waste time while mowing the lawn, because no matter what I contemplate or construct, the grass will always be the right length when it’s over.
Mowing the lawn is sitting in a dark room meditating, in the middle of a summer day in the fresh sunlight. It’s two hours of splendid isolation in the middle of a field. I’m here, everything is here, but it can’t reach me – I’m too busy thinking, too busy imagining, and too busy singing. Because I’m mowing the lawn, and it is in this that I believe.
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