To Bag or Not to Bag
As I started cutting my lawn today, I contemplated whether it would be more astute to put a bag on the mower to catch the grass, or not use a bag and let the grass clippings congeal into moist clumps all over the yard.
The easier path was to do the latter. So I chose that one. Taking the easier path is often appealing. It’s usually not in your long-term best interest, but that’s another philosophical lesson for a future dissertation.
Here’s where my head landed today: If the mulch kills the grass, so be it.
At least today I didn’t have to stop the mower every few minutes, take the bag off, walk to the side of the lawn, and dump the grass clippings. Today I won this little game with the larger game of life. Small wins still a win.
Winning is the only thing. Vince Lombardi said so and whatever he said remains forever true.
My win equaled less work, less hassle, less irritation, fewer grass stains on my hands, the powerful feeling that I was able to make a decision on my own without any bosses ripping me for not thinking things through well enough.
This was my day to make whatever decision pleased me regardless of the long-term consequences. Freedom prevailed. America is beautiful.
By mulching instead of bagging, I risked killing the grass that just two weeks earlier I had spent several hours caressing by unloading several spreaders full of grass seed, fertilizer, and grub killer.
I don’t know what a grub is but I needed to kill it according to the guy who sold me the stuff at the plant store. Grub to me is a meatball sandwich oozing with tomato sauce.
By not bagging, all of my yardwork toil and sweat might have been rendered wasteful and pointless. But that was a few weeks ago. Time changes everything. Back then I had high hopes that all that diligent work would rejuvenate my lawn has been suffering from eons of neglect. But those hopes were distant and irrelevant memories today.
Today I wanted the grass to be cut as fast as possible. I wanted the sweat filling my eyes and staining my glasses to stop. I wanted to go inside and take a shower, change into something more comfortable such as gym shorts, and watch TV.
All of this relates, of course, to my childhood. As I kid my dad often prodded me to cut the lawn. Before I began he usually made sure to point out that bagging the grass was good for the grass. Not doing so left clumps of grass on top of the grass. He told me this was not helpful in getting the grass to grow. I never quite bought into his theories about grass because he was not a horticulturist.
To explain the issue Dad drew upon the concept of suffocation. Clumps of grass on top of uncut grass stifles the ability for grass to grow. It’s sort of like the idea that if you drink three Grade Sodas a day for six weeks in a row, it’s going to be harder to lose weight than if you drink water instead.
This is a strained analogy but close enough for a Saturday. No one ever said analogies have to be perfect. It helps, but it’s not a law.
Dad’s suffocation point made some sense; not total sense, but some sense. But even when I cut the grass for Dad I never wanted to bag the grass because that took too long. It saddened me. You have to keep yanking the mower to start it up again after stopping it to unhinge the bag and heave it somewhere in the yard. Bagging the grass was a big bad bore.
Not bagging – which I often did once my Dad went inside — felt like an act of mischief and slightly empowering. In those days I remember thinking that had that been my lawn, instead of my father’s, I may have felt differently and bagged the grass.
But even now, three decades later and having my own lawn, my feelings haven’t changed. Regardless of the impracticality of spending hours spreading grass seed and fertilizer and then two weeks later not bagging so clumps of grass stymie grass growth, I refuse to bag the grass.
Some kids never learn. Childhood memories never really go away. Not today, anyway.
Sammy Sportface, a sports blogger, galvanizes, inspires, and amuses The Baby Boomer Brotherhood. And you can learn about his vision and join this group's Facebook page here:
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