Beginning of the Road

by D.C. Sorensen

September 1995


This week Snow White hinted that it was about time to mow the lawn at our new home.  That meant that I had to get out the lawn mower. 

My macho Toro mower had been in storage for over a year.  It is not one of those items I have missed.  But as much as I have enjoyed not doing any lawn work , I knew that sooner or later it would return.  I know that lawns in Ely are not a priority.  Nor are they a fixation as it was in my old suburban neighborhood.  If I could change one thing about Ely, it would be that Ely would be north of the grass line.  Unfortunately, Ely would have had to be close to Hudson Bay to achieve that. 

For months my Toro has been kept in the deep dark recesses of our storage unit just outside of town.  It always amazes me how the stuff you need is always the hardest to get at.  But the joy of lawn work cancels any hassle in extricating my Toro.  I always enjoy moving a million boxes.  After changing oil, the old Toro was ready to conquer a lawn that had been left uncut for over two months. 

Now in my old community, if you let your lawn go for two months you would have been in a lot of trouble.  First, the neighbors would have started a class action lawsuit against you for ruining the neighborhood.  Second, with all the fertilizer people apply, plus the automatic lawn sprinklers, the grass would have been taller than Iowa corn.

I still needed one more item in order to start my grass attack.  I needed to locate my gas can.  Itís probably packed in a box with our wedding pictures or something.  I pined to Snow White, ďI guess I canít cut the grass.Ē

That excuse brought me a whole two days.  Then I received notice from the Forest Service that if I didnít cut the lawn they were going to do a controlled burn.  So, I checked out the old gas tank on the mower and lo and behold there was still some gas.  I started yanking the pull rope and after a half dozen tries, the mower came to life in a haze of blue smoke. 

I decided to start with the boulevards first.  The roar of the motor and the walking pace all came back to me. 

Soon I was just daydreaming as I followed behind the mower.  I thought about all the perfect lawns in my old neighborhood.  I had always walked in a square pattern that just got smaller and smaller.  Nothing fancy.  Most of my neighbors cut diagonally and went over their lawns twice to get a diamond effect.  My old neighbors would have put a Japanese gardener to shame.

I thought about how I now had more free time and that maybe I should try to attempt a more creative pattern of cutting.  After all, my new lawn was nice and flat.  It wouldnít take too much more time.  Maybe, the Echo would start to have a lawn contest and I would end up with my picture in the paper?

Then, I ran out of gas.  I had barely done one side of the yard.  In Ely, people value a walk around Minerís lake more than a coiffure yard.  Sorry, Snow White, maybe Iíll find that gas tank next spring.  Itís time for a walk around Minerís Lake to enjoy the colors to fall.  Hmm, Fall?  Do people rake leaves in Ely?


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