Sunday, March 07, 2010

Lawns and storms

Instead of launching into a long explanation of my absence from blogging and what I'd been waiting for to start again, I've decided to just start blogging again. I wrote this yesterday late afternoon as the rain pelted Melbourne:

I watch a Persian Fairy-floss cloud stream over me and note how incongruous it is compared to the heavy dark storm clouds crowding in from the west. Then I realise that wispy, shredded cloud is only the vanguard of more heavy rain clouds chasing it east.

I'm lying on my back on our freshly mown back lawn, resting from a hot afternoon's work mowing the back and front lawns and the extra long nature strip bordering our corner block. The day's heat and humidity had left me dripping with sweat throughout this bit of domestic heavy-lifting, where I again had the opportunity to reflect on the features and expectations of Australian masculinities that our moving to a larger house with a garden has necessitated. The lawn mowers in our neighbourhood start up like clockwork on Saturdays and Sundays – certainly with greater regularity that mine – and I'm still getting used to this new requirement (after having lived in a unit for nearly five years!)

Instead of retreating into the house once I'd locked the mower away into its metal shed, I lay on the grass to enjoy my handiwork, took off my boots to let my feet feel the grass, and let myself sink into the soft cushion of grass. I can't remember the last time I did this.

Watching the sky darken as the storm clouds roll over me, the thunder comes louder and stronger from the west. I want the raindrops to just fall on me.

The wind starts to pick up and birds dart around seeking shelter. I can't tell if the birds are flying fast or the wind is propelling them through the air. This elevating avian aviatics turns out to be a good sign of the storm closing in, as pretty soon the wind brings pelting rain.

Pretty soon, I decide the novely of lying on the grass and letting the rain fall on me has worn off as the stinging pellets drive me indoors. Not before being well and truly cooled off after my Saturday afternoon chores.

By all accounts, the day's storms brought traffic havoc to the city and lots of rain in a short time. Enough to reassure me that the fruiting orange tree, the prize feature of our backyard, got a good drink. And surely enough rain to get the freshly cut grass shooting up again. An excercise in futility.

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At March 07, 2010 8:49 pm, Blogger genevieve said...

A nice exercise in painting in under 1000 words, though! thanks.
And good on you for having a lie down and appreciating the moment. We rush from one job to another far too often.

At March 10, 2010 11:07 pm, Blogger parlance said...

Lovely descriptions, Mark.

I was outside in our garden at that time, too, and I raced in when the pelting hail hit me.

As to the futile gesture of mowing the grass, I say you were helping it grow. I read somewhere recently that grass evolved to be eaten. It is one of the few plants that must be eaten (read, "mowed") to survive in the long term.

At March 30, 2010 9:05 pm, Anonymous Reservoir Dad said...

Hey there Mark,

nicely writ. We happened to be away that weekend so missed the storm. Our backyard seemed to survive it okay. I get out to the lawns about once a month. I reckon anymore is just an indication that you're bored or retired or neurotic (and most of my neighbors fit into at least one of those categories.)

At April 01, 2010 1:15 pm, Blogger djfoobarmatt said...

There's a lot to be said for a quiet contemplative backyard moment. A few years ago (BC*) I went through a phase of lying on the back lawn at sunset and watching flying foxes crowd the sky (we lived near the colony at east brisbane)

*BC = before children

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