Friday, July 29, 2011

Life Lived in Silhouette

Unjamming the Lawn Mower Blade - Again!

When they print the new owner’s manual for the John Deere Turbo Grass Master 6000 Series, I will be one of the silhouette people in it with a thick, black line slashed across my silhouette face. The caption will read: Danger, Warning, Caution! Stupidity Alert.

I will be the international symbol for people who ride over a pine tree root and get the lawn mower blade jammed so tightly into that massive hunk of root that seven strong men on steroids could not lift me off.

The black silhouette person with the black line through it will be a representation of me sitting next to my wedged, stalled, jammed, trapped, lawn mower. It will show me leaning against a forty-foot pine tree, my cell phone to my ear—crying, me not the cell phone. The caption will read: Don’t Let This Happen To Your Silhouette!

I called my husband in Virginia. We live in Florida. He travels. I like to think that it’s because he has to for work, or he’s a spy.

“Honey,” I wailed. “I’m stuck.”

“What? Where? How? Who is this?”

“I got the new lawn mower stuck inside a pine tree . . . and I can’t move it.”

There was a pause. It was one of his long, slow, deliberate pauses, which being interpreted means: Why did I marry this woman?

“Inside? What? Never mind. Well . . . put the mower in reverse.”

Sob. Gasp. Wail.  “I can’t. The mower blade is stuck INSIDE the pine tree root. I had bad luck. The mower took a bad hop and the root was hiding.”

“Stuck INSIDE the pine tree root! Bad hop!” Which being interpreted means: You crazy woman, you ran our brand new, four thousand dollar riding lawn mower into a TREE.

“Can you push it off the root?” Which being interpreted means: You crazy woman, what do you expect me to do her in Virginia where I must travel to earn money to pay for lawn mowers that you run into trees or roots?

I wailed, “I can’t lift the lawn mower. I’m too little.”

I sounded five years old. I felt four years old.

For the next two hours I cried while digging a trench around the trapped lawn mower. I cried while scooping dirt from around the point of direct pine tree root and blade contact. I cried while hack sawing through the pine tree root.

I cried because pine trees are so tall. I cried because pine tree roots are so thick. I cried because I’m not strong enough to lift a riding lawn mower. I cried because grass grows and needs mowing. I cried because all my children are grown now and aren’t around to mow the grass. I cried because time passes. I cried because I said a bad word. I cried because the Bald Eagle in our backyard was staring at me from another pine tree waiting for to die. I cried for the sadness of being alive. I cried and I cried and I cried.

And that’s how I knew I’m menopausal.

When my son-in-law showed up to push me off the root that I had already hack sawed into two big hunks, he said, “I can’t believe you used a hacksaw on wood.”

I said, “Huh.”

“You should only use hacksaws on metal.”

I snapped back, “Why, because we have so many metal tree roots in the world?”

And that smart aleck comment was how I knew I was feeling better.

What I learned that week was how it’s not the trees that are the problem. The trees you can see. It’s the roots. They lurk. You never know when you’re going to get totally jammed up because of them.

Linda (Hacksaw) Zern

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