This I Believe

David - Milford, Michigan
Entered on July 4, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30

Lawns, Lawnmowers, and the Meaning of Life

I hate our lawn, our lawnmower, and my task of cutting the lawn.

So last summer, My brother Dougie cut the lawn. I copped out. But somehow returning to that green and empty field, I mounted the lawnmower this year and arrived at a startling conclusion. During my “first cut of the year” as the first few raindrops of a swelling spring tempest sprinkled down, I unknowingly comprised this essay. As I hurried to finish before the inclement rain, I pondered: “What makes a yard worth it? How do I do this onerous task when I find it is so meaningless? What compels me to continue?” So I contemplated, surmised, and bobbed with the mower, speeding around turns and mole-holes, until I realized the grass itself is not necessarily so precious, but rather, what I appreciate about the grass is how it enlightened me during my bumpy ride.

The lawnmower’s drone led me to my realization that, although a lawn truly is a meaningless and repetitive endeavor, grass is an extension of my ability to invent where an abyss exists. The very essence of meaningless is its allocation for infinite creation—that is, I can always make something from nothing. Meaninglessness inspires optimism in me because I become a sculptor who shapes formless blobs into magnificent edifices of substantial significance. Thus, the meaninglessness of grass grants endless creativity.

Of course, I may yearn to be like my brothers who excel at cutting the lawn and perfected cutting linearity into the grass. I, however, am neither of them. But where I exceed is in my ability to assign meaning to my endeavors. I am allowed to look at our lawn and see beyond the mere repetitiveness and uniformity; I can see the lawn as Dougie’s ninety minute “speed-cut,” as a piece of the summer, or as a ladder to fond memories of backyard baseball with my brothers, where our dog of dolorous death would covertly steal our baseballs and refuse to give them back. The lawn, in its “meaninglessness,” becomes everything which it is not. Thus in my mind, the lawn attains meaning.

Now, because I comprehend the lawn’s extension of my ability to affirm a sense of reality and happiness, I do not struggle to ride the lawnmower, because assigning meaning is quintessential to substantiating a fulfilling life. That I may attach importance to my pursuits is undoubtedly the sublimity of existence.

So I ride on. I smile at my nostalgic memories that burst into my mind as I cut the lawn and I revere my power to make meaning. So latently, I love our lawn, our lawnmower, and my task of cutting the lawn.