My dad has this thing about walks after dinner. It’s been a family tradition since we lived on the farm. I remember as a kid walking through the fields and down the dirt road to the very end  and then turning around and coming right back. The trip was filled with rock throwing and just taking in the scenery.

First rose of the spring. I took this as we walked around the front yard yesterday.

Last night he wanted to walk around the yard and since he just went through bypass surgery, his walking is still a little limited but we stood in the front yard and stared out into the backyard. My dad made a comment that it was supposed to rain the rest of the week and he felt worried that the grass would get too thick to cut. Since I’m only home for a couple more days, I volunteered to get the riding lawn mower out and take care of the backyard for him.

I gathered up my iPhone and ear buds, found some decent shoes (since all I wear is flip flops) and pushed the riding mower out from under the cover. I looked to the skies and checked the time. It was almost 7 in the afternoon/evening but I knew I could get it done in less than an hour. I hated to think of the neighbors who had an early sleep time. I popped my ear buds in, checked the gas levels in the lawnmower and began my job.

Then something happened that I wasn’t expecting. My go-to band recently has been the Decemberists and as I listened to their album, “The Hazards of Love,” my brain began to calm down. Everything going on with my dad, back at home, my family, my writer’s block; it all went away. The cool breeze that settled across the yard with the smell of cut grass and the sounds of the Decemberists took it all away. I felt at peace as I stared at the half-moon that shone above and I finally figured out how to end my book. I went through lines in my head and it felt amazing.

I needed that to be honest with you. I needed a moment where I could just relax, have nothing but me, the dark-blue sky, half-moon and the smell of cut grass to settle my mind. It sucks that when I get back to Gastonia I won’t be able to do that (our lawn is mowed by a company) but it reminded me that when I get to that point where I feel like the walls are closing in, everything is stressful and I can’t handle it, go outside. I need to remember to enjoy the outdoors again. It was always my safe-haven and I think from this point on, I’ll be spending a lot more time out there.

So if you’re ever in a spot, be it writer’s block, family problems, or just dealing with real life issues, take a moment to cut your grass. Throw in some earphones/ear buds and listen to your favorite band. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel.