September 11, 2004


This morning, left the house, walked with no destination.
Down to the lake, but not around the lake path crowded with couples and dogs and rollerbladers, but walked on the sidewalk up in front of the million dollar castlelettes with their ornate fencing and qrtr mile circular driveways and smiling peonies and firm hedgerows. It was so sunny this morning, the light so overwhelming, sky so blue, the beauty of nature so penetrating, it felt harsh, it was enough to give you a hang over.

The soundtrack was the lapping of a sea of mechanized buzzing: choral lawnmowers, several to a block. I decided to let the path home be dictated by the mowers, like lighthouses, guiding by rumble and hum, by the scent of cut grass and gasoline. When I got to one, I would listen for the next and walk according. Up 47th, industrial hired-yardworker behind a giant red toro, streaking perfect one-light, one-dark lines up to the many terraced white house. Next, right, up through the alley on Humboldt, teenaged son, pushing the white automatic bagging mower laboriusly, carefully working around the garden's edge. His father stood a hundred yards away, arms crossed over his striped Izod shirt, stern and watchful like a foreman. Then, a family of young boys on yard duty, one raked, one mowed, the littlest one bagging. Next was another kid, summer jobbing with an industrial mower idling in the alley while he paced, shouldering a cell phone, conversating over the motor's blare, grass mulched to near-liquid, spat up all over his shins, leghair, sock and Air Jordans. We nodded to each other in acknowledgment. Neither of us belonged in that alley.

Behind these houses, these impecable lawns, back yard upon epic, verdant backyard, barely-used thousands-of-dollars playhouses and jungle gyms, porches with teak rocking chairs that were clearly decorational rather than practical. $ 60,000 add-on's in mid construction, frontloaders parked amongst palettes of clean brick. And there was no one. No one out but mowers.

Posted by Jessica at September 11, 2004 07:07 PM | TrackBack