I often think I want to live in a hip urban neighbourhood. It would be great to walk out your front door and mosey on down to the local bakery, farmer’s market, coffee shop and quaint stores. Perhaps we could live more environmentally such as both of us cycling to work, walking to nearby parks or simply just reducing the size of our footprint. However, an urban neighbourhood in Ottawa is out of our price range.

We live in a old suburb. Our house was built in 1966. It is in dire need of some updates. The street is busier than we would like but we remain within the green belt. We have a kick ass sized lot with old trees. There is a mix of ages and a small mix of ethnic groups in the neighbourhood. The neighbours are super nice, friendly, observant and protective. We can let the kids play in the front drive-way (under parental observation of course) and enjoy waving and talking with people, their dogs and kids. I guess it isn’t so bad.

Owning a sizeable lot in the burbs means we must partake in some significant yard maintenance. Our front lawn consists mostly of weeds. There is clover, dandelions, crab grass, plantain, mallow, chickweed, wild strawberries, etc. J thinks it can be kind-of pretty as there are purple, white and yellow flowers. I, on the other hand, am slightly embarrassed by the composition of our lawn. Thankfully our surrounding neighbours seem to sport the same type of lawn. So I’ve come to embrace the nature of our lawn.

I am a vigilante when it comes to mowing the lawn. I LOVE a freshly mown lawn. It causes anxiety and frustration to see the lawn to grow for more than 7-10 days. I especially love hauling the gas powered lawn mower from our rotting shed (even with the knowledge that I will be polluting the environment). I delight in quickly starting the mower and hearing the engine roar into life. I revel in the idea of making a pattern in the front lawn. I tend to alternate between mowing the lawn vertically, horizontally and diagonally. This pattern change is a technique I learned from my dad.

My dad is a zealous lawn guru. He would not put up with the number of weeds I have. I’m sure he would be sporting his lawn weeder daily and would not hesitate to use chemical means to eliminate them. Nor would he baulk at the idea of re-sodding the lawn or at least adding topsoil and fresh grass seed to the lawn (a project that I am too lazy and cheap to undertake). I did learn from him to take great pleasure in mowing the lawn. I remember standing back with him and just enjoying the view of the lines cutting through the lawn. To this day, I admire my handiwork at mastering nature. The accomplishment and satisfaction of mowing a lawn pulses through me and I can’t help but feel a smile spread across my face and a desire to jump for joy.

My desire for a mown lawn must irk the neighbours. After I am done, the sense of obligation to keep up infuses the neigbourhood. It always makes me secretly giggle to see neighbours hauling out their mowers within a few hours or a day after I tackle my yard. It is funny to think that I am promoting a suburban ideal and forcing others to conform. Too bad they don’t seem to revel in the chore.