Yardwork offers you and me 6 lessons about recovery
So I am not much of a yard guy.
Growing up, every time my father tried to teach me about yard maintenance, I wanted nothing to do with it. He was able to drag me along, but I did the Houdini thing. I went inwardly vacant. I was protesting the idea of doing any sort of unpaid chore because it was an interruption to my Television time or my free time.
I hated helping with outside maintenance chores because my father liked to swear like a trucker. He would drop the swear-bombs all over the place and eventually he would aim them my way for putting the hose the wrong way or cutting the lawn down to the dirt.
As an adult, my brother told me that his way of putting up with our dad’s swearing was to intentionally cut the lawn too close, right down to the dirt. We each have our own ways of surviving. I like his way better, it is more immediate and
I like his way better, it is more immediate and outward.
My yard is scattered with yellow dandelions and a few patches of dried grass. So this year, I am determined to get my yard back to health. I asked a lady at Home Depot for advice about how to get my lawn back to health. She said she had no idea. She only started the job yesterday.
So this year, I am determined to get my yard back to health. I asked a lady at Home Depot for advice about how to get my lawn back to health. She said she had no idea. She only started the job yesterday. Turns out, her thing is flowers.
Made me wonder: if she doesn’t know about lawns, why is she working in the lawn maintenance section?
Some things are above my pay grade.
What she did tell me is to just Google it and watch a video. So here is what I found out:
1.Watch Youtube video
2.Buy supplies and ensure you are prepared with: grass seed, enriched soil, spreader, rake, garden hose and sprinklers
3.Rake your lawn
4.Mow your lawn, bagging your clippings as you go
5.Use the spreader to lay the seed
6.Spread the enriched soil
7.Water until it is squishy and keep it moist
8.Repeat, during a cool part of the day, until the seedlings are high enough to need a hair cut
It’s been 18 hours since I planted the seeds and my grass hasn’t changed a bit. Turns out that #9 on the list should have been patience. My dad lacked that, so I guess I come by it honestly.
Turns out that #9 on the list should have been patience. My dad lacked that, so I guess I come by it honestly. I am happy to say that I was able to plant all of the seed without uttering even one cussword.
Zen, Yardwork, and Recovery
I don’t know much about Zen, just that he had a cool name. What I do know is that yard work is a pain in the ass. It’s way easier to get your parents, your kids or someone else to do it.
That is probably the point, it is hard work and hard work is good for you. Yard work is like life, and recovery if you think about it.
Your lawn tells a story, just like your life. You can see the areas of neglect pretty easily. Weeds, brown puffy patches, and bald spots are bad signs on your lawn and also on your body. I have neglected my lawn and I have also neglected parts of my life too.
1.Get a friend. In keeping with tradition, I forced my kids to help. Learning about lawn stuff is good for them. But the real reason I made them is that when you do maintenance stuff it is more fun when you have other people with you. So we listened to pop music, danced a little and had some fun.
2.Wear gloves. The fun was interspersed with a lot of raking and then more raking. The job was a lot of work. Cuts and scrapes happen, so prepare yourself against injury. If you can limit your pains the next day, do it. Why cause unnecessary suffering?
3.Daily work is more important than being a weekend warrior. I figured out that now that I’ve planted the lawn, I have to water it at least once a day. It’s not really a big deal to water the lawn, but you can’t ignore it for a week and over water on Saturday. Lawns, like people, respond best to regular, small investments of time and attention.
4.Ask for help, but don’t expect to get the right answer the first time. People who should be there to help you sometimes are newbies too. Maybe the internet can help, maybe your family, maybe a friend and maybe an unexpected stranger. Everyone has an opinion but sometimes the imporant thing is to find someone who has a lawn like yours and listen to the owner.
I couldn’t figure out how to put the bag on the lawn mower. My son was telling me how to do it, and I ignored him. Then he called me stubborn. I didn’t cuss, but I felt like it. He was right, it just took me time to be ready to listen. Sometimes help comes from unexpected, and even unwanted places.
5. Find something you like about it. Honestly, having a really green, thick lawn does not light my fire. What I like is having nice flowers. If you don’t have a lawn, though, your flowers will look crappy.
Recovery work takes work. Meditation, exercise, eating right and talking are important and sometimes just feel like work. They are the daily maintenance that gets you back on track. I love to write, so I do it as part of my recovery. It gives my mind something positive and productive to do rather than lecturing me about stuff.
6. When you move, you feel better. I felt pretty depressed yesterday, but the process of figuring out what to do with my lawn and then doing the physical work lifted my depression. And that was a good day.
Keep it Real
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Photo by David, Bergin, Emmett and Elliott