Mowing on a Saturday

As a child, the backyard seemed like a huge place. My family never lived on more than half an acre, but it always seemed so much larger. We filled the space with hide-and-seek, football, tree climbing, and fort building; leaf piles in the summer, igloos in the winter, super-soakers in the summer and despite its name, freeze tag all year round. We'd play heroes in our superhero pajamas, monkey-in-the-middle, and capture the flag. We'd harass the wildlife, plant gardens, and exchange first kisses behind the tool shed. The yard was our domain.

Then as now, the adults stuck to the house, at most, they'd venture onto the deck. Whoever's yard we played in, that's who was in charge. That's who was king. Disputes over rules or who wouldn't be "it" were resolved by king's decree: "Well, this is my yard, go home if you don't like it!". At which point the dissenter would either stage a coup by trying to get everyone to take the game to his yard or make a rude face and say something smart like,"It's not your yard, it's your parents' yard," even though as far as everyone was concerned it was the king's yard as much as the yards they lived on were theirs and not their parents' or as much as their parents felt the houses they lived in were their own and not the bank's.

This is what I thought about today as I mowed the yard. Even though I still live on the same size yard I did growing up, it seems smaller, the surrounding houses and roads closer. The yard has become little more than an undersized buffer between me (in the house) and the surrounding world. After traveling across oceans, and exploring mountains and wilderness, I suppose it makes sense that the yard has lost some of its appeal, but the magic is still there somewhere even if I only notice it during reminiscence or while straining behind a push-mower for hours on an overgrown lawn.