Candies, Cigars, and the Epistemology of Lawncare

The above picture is the side wall of a very old pharmacy in Des Moines. And, no doubt, it made sense at the time: one treat for the kids and another for men.  Or perhaps the idea was prescriptions for your physical health and then candies and cigars for your well being.  It was a tough call betweem choosing this picture or one from my collection of single doughnuts and single pieces of cake. Those pictures would be my documentation of the reluctance of Midwest office workers to eat the last piece of anything.  I’ve done a little bit of investigation and discovered there are a lot of Iowa mothers who teach that it’s rude to take the last piece. The system works fine for me since I’m from the Northeast anyway and can be sure to find what I like to call “my” piece remaining even after I’m not around for the initial goodie-rush.

A third candidate for the blog picture was a shot of my lawn. But don’t think lawn/yawn because my lawn has been teaching me a lot of things. Those things would include epistemology. My conversation with my lawn actually began when I looked at the rock, timbers, and evergreen bushes elevated next to my driveway and decided they had to go.  Thus began my daily ritual of coming home, changing into work clothes, and tearing it all out. The timbers, the rock, the bushes, and their root system all had to go, and it would be by the sweat of my brow. So I got to go to the wonderland that is Lowes to buy tools, then proceeded to get sweaty, dirty, and a bit achy.  But it was all good. Shoveling rock, prying out timbers and pulling on roots took on a certain rhythm and immediacy of experience that led me to a deeper relationship with my lawn and even changed my brain waves.

I suppose that bit about brain waves could use some elaboration.  See, despite appearances and a level of proof that may not be a preponderance of the evidence, I tend to spend a lot of time in an analytic frame of mind.  The last time I remember that frame of mind being altered for very long was during my last trip to Alaska. This isn’t the time to go into detail about that, so I’ll just say Alaska is akin to a non-prescription drug. Well, I guess that means my lawn – or at least my work in transforming  that bank of bushes into lawn – has at least that in common with Alaska.  So there I was, virtually vacationing in my front yard with loppers, rakes, shovels and a wheelbarrow while everyone else thought I was working. And I tended to stay in that frame of mind until bedtime, hence no blogging, among other things.

Yes, yes, I am rambling but I can bring this back to something we’ve at least touched upon before. It’s this: I didn’t have any grand philosophical theories while I was working. It was me and the dirt, me and the root, me and the balancing wheelbarrow.  I applied no ethical theories,  employed no presuppositions, had no epiphanies, and don’t think my Creator required any of those for me to do something that, on the balance, was pretty good.

Anyway, I did finish the bank next to the driveway and now there’s grass seed that will hopefully be sprouting soon. It took a few days after the project was completed for my “normal” state of mind to return, and Ms. Blue noticed it before I did.  It seems that my awakening analytic side began by commenting on certain inefficiencies, irrationalities (teenage girls. Amen?) and lack of ideal order in my household. After my last such insightful remark, Ms. Blue said “Look, you need to go do something. Why don’t you go blog?”

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5 Comments

Filed under Doodling in the margins

5 responses to “Candies, Cigars, and the Epistemology of Lawncare

  1. dewisant1

    Ha! Young seeker, star-struck by his proximity to most famous Zen Master, sez, “Roshi, what is the path to enlightenment?”
    Zen Master sez, “Chop wood. Carry water.”

  2. As a pre-Father’s Day gift, my wife had two dudes with the right tools dig up my curbs and fill with rocks and other yard type stuff I hate doing (I get the “me and the dirt” point but when it comes to me and actual dirt, I’m more urban than rural). I’m thinking of getting her a “Proverbs 31 Woman” tee shirt for Mother’s Day.

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