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I get the impression that when people mow their lawns, they start at one end and go along in straight lines, back and forth. It occured to me last Friday that I go about it in a completely different way.

I want to know what I’m up against, so I start off with a big wide line around the edge, scoping out where the trees lie, what branches are lying around, and where the bugs are hiding. Then I circle around, moving my way inward. In this way I imagine I’ve got all the bugs and spiders and whatnot surrounded, painting them into a corner, as it were, with deadly whirling blades.

Mowing the lawn is like a battle with me. On Friday, the spiders got me twice right in the face, which I think is unavoidable when you have a lot of trees on your property. There were at least three others but I managed to get around them, using a stealthy move of pushing the mower forward under their web with one arm and pulling it back again, then walking around the tree to do the other side.

Ant hills require a similar strategy of standing well back and pushing the mower on top of them, then pulling it off and watching as they all go running for their lives. We have very big ant hills in our yard.

So now my lawn is split up into sections of concentric circles, with little areas of small back-and-forth motions as evidence of my battles with nature. Luckily a large part of our yard isn’t even grass anymore so I can get away with cutting a few corners. I’m going to start advocating the replacement of grass with one of either the clover that covers the north, or the moss in the southwest. There’s a patch of tiny little plant in the southeast corner that looks like miniature evergreen trees, but that probably wouldn’t be as nice to step in with bare feet.

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