This past weekend I mowed for the first time of the season. For me, the first mow marks the start of my yearly yard therapy. You see, I suffer from seasonal affective disorder–apparently it’s a thing. (Isn’t there a name or a disorder for everything these days?) SAD isn’t something for which I seek therapy. Rather it’s something I just deal with and try to get through.
I spent 8-12 hours a day in front of a computer, but I’m really not wired that way. From my earliest memory, I was nearly always outside. Whether it was my dog(s), my bicycle, mowing or gardening, my activity usually occurred outside. I think part of that is that I have always been mildly ADHD. Nothing inside could ever hold my attention. Sitting for long periods of time or staying in one place has always bothered me. RLS has something to do with it, but I have always just felt better outside.
Winter has always been one of my favorite times of year because of the snow. However, I never really liked snowball fights or just running through the snow. The fun part for me was always the yearly tire change on dad’s Suburban and installing the snow blade on the riding mower. Each task was in itself a day long activity. The Suburban had tapered lug nuts which always tended to tighten during the year. So, dad and I would spend hours spraying them, pounding on them or even taking them to the local garage to get them off.
When it came to the snow blade, we had a blade made for a Wheel Horse, modified for an Economy Power King and modified again for a Sears Suburban. That thing looked like Frankenstein, so you can imagine the ordeal to get it mounted every year–GOOD TIMES!
Unfortunately, I never go to use that rider–the engine blew up before I was old enough to get out and drive it. So, after getting the equipment ready, I spent a lot of time inside over the winter.
Back to my “condition”. I would have never called it a “disorder”, but there it is. For me, it just means that after several weeks or a month of being cooped up inside, I start feeling everything close in. I NEED fresh air–need to blow off steam. It is so much harder to do in the winter–not just because of the weather, but because of the season. That first “killing” frost puts the grass, trees and some wildlife dormant for the winter. Which, puts me out of “business” so to speak.
My favorite past times have always been landscaping, gardening, etc. In Indiana in the winter, forget about any of those. The grass turns brown. The dogs trample said grass to a muddy mess. Digging is impossible through concrete ground after it freezes good. Some of you might be thinking, “Why doesn’t he just go somewhere and work out, run, etc.”. My answer is “Have you seen me? Do you know me?” When you’ve broken 12+ bones, the cold makes EVERYTHING hurt. The ground doesn’t give as well in winter either–increasing my risk of injury.
On the flip side of that, from about April through October, you can find me outside working in the yard from dawn to dusk if I have a chance. I still wake up every morning barely able to move–from the previous day’s abuse–but the desire to get outside in the sun and fresh air drives me to keep on working!
The Summer Projects
Every year I assign myself a list of summer projects. Unfortunately my lists are always so very long that I’m still working on the projects from 3 years ago. There is also the mowing! I live to mow for several reasons. First, I get to use power equipment (rider, push mower, weed eater, edger, etc). Second, a perfectly groomed lawn is something to marvel! Finally, there’s the time away from thinking–when you’re on a rider, it’s too loud to think. Also, how much thought does it take to mow lines in grass?
My family would tell you that I want the yard perfect, but that’s not really the case. I do like to have a nicely manicured lawn, but it doesn’t have to be perfect. We live on our yard. It gets abused, it has weeds and it’s very imperfect! However, how you care for your yard does say something about you. If your yard is consistently unkept, trashy, etc it says something completely different than if it’s kept manicured, trash picked up, etc. I’ve always believed that if you’re not going to take care of your property, then you shouldn’t own–rent!
What to expect this year:
This year will be like every other. My list is so long already, I have no hope of ever completing it this year. You will also find me with a sunburned face–with my sunglass tan lines. I will probably also spend the summer limping and nursing cuts and bruises. However, you won’t find me nearly as cranky and depressed as I am during the winter–because I’ll be outside doing what I love!