By Ericka Short
There’s just something beautiful about being in nature. The birds chirping their melodies, the raucous fight between chipmunks and other animals trying to scrounge for a snack in the feeder, the wind gently caressing you and the warm sun reminding you it’s summer. And of course, in backyards all over, there’s an unmistakable scent of skunk, fragrant blooms and my personal favorite, mowed grass.
I’ve had a love affair with mown grass since I was about eight or nine. By middle school I was mowing that grass for my dad. Gardening and other outdoor work has always been a part of family chores so it just made sense. But you’re legally blind, you say? So what!
I have two younger sisters. They are quite capable of mowing, it’s true. But for some reason they didn’t want the five bucks. Dad never skipped a beat when I said I’d like to mow. Where he got his information I don’t know, but he proceeded to show me how to start the mower, keep track of rows and off I went! We had a corner lot and well, a lot to mow! I was in heaven.
There’s freedom in mowing. Mowing is a great way to reflect and pray. One day it dawned on me: it’s freeing because the grass is my road, the mower is my vehicle, and for that half-hour or so, I am in complete control of my life. I am not Ericka, the woman with the disability. I am Ericka, nature lover and someone giving back. Period.
My two younger sisters learned to drive and take care of a vehicle, in case something happened. Dad taught me how to take care of the mower. How to clean it out, how to put the bagger on, how to check for oil and of course how to fill the gas tank. Dad’s philosophy having three girls was “you should be able to take care of yourself because you can’t always rely on a man for everything. Be independent.”
I have learned a lot from mowing; there is too much to list here. I’ll never forget the freedom I first felt when Dad trusted me with that lawnmower, though. Though my vision has changed, the only steadfast thing in life has been the lesson that if I can mow the yard, I can do anything with vision loss. Oh, and as I close this post, my 91 year old grandfather just called asking me to come over and mow. I better hop to it! You know that grass doesn’t mow itself.