I left the hiking shoes behind this weekend and traded them for a tractor. Mowing the horse fields at the barn is actually one of my favorite summer activities. After spending a week in a sweltering office working the hours away behind a computer, I look forward to being more active on the weekend and more importantly, outdoors! There is more to hanging out at the barn than riding horses and cleaning stalls. There are always tons of chores to be done such as painting and mending fences and cleaning the chicken coop. To the delight of my barn manager, my favorite job of the summer is mowing the 6-acre field where our horses graze.
In my opinion, mowing is one of the best meditation method there is. After being stressed all week by work deadlines and the lovely D.C. traffic, there is nothing much better than sitting on a tractor in the sun with a straw hat on and some Eddie Vedder tunes. All you have to do is guide your tractor tire over the grass edge and keep going. As long as you don’t run out of gas, you are good to go. Sometimes I find myself being creative and figure out different patterns, but it is always about following the edge and going over the shaggy parts that I might have left behind.
I say mowing is like a meditation practice because it is repetitive in nature and because you have to be in the moment while your doing it. You have to pay attention to where you are going and making sure you are not running over rocks and big branches. You have to also be mindful of creatures that could be in the grass like deer, toads and butterflies. Today, I spent about 30 minutes trying not to run over a small butterfly that insisted on perching on a blade of grass where I was mowing!
Deer often lay down in tall grasses during the hottest part of the day to escape the heat. They won’t always get up when they hear the tractor, so it is really important to pay attention. This is especially important during the months of May and June when does start giving birth. Fawns are often left alone in what looks like grass nests while their mothers go off to feed nearby. The tall grasses gives them good protection against predators such as coyotes and black bear.
Do you have a favorite type of outdoor meditation?