It’s not often that I have company mowing the lawn. It’s perfectly understandable. Who in their right mind wants to go back and forth across a weed flecked yard for an hour just to keep …
It’s not often that I have company mowing the lawn. It’s perfectly understandable. Who in their right mind wants to go back and forth across a weed flecked yard for an hour just to keep me company? Fact is, company would be a distraction from immersing myself in thought and a routine that has become so practiced that I’ve become a robot behind a mower.
That wasn’t the case when Binky was a member of the household. A rescue dog, as best we could tell Binky was a mix of greyhound and Doberman. He was an imposing dog with a kind heart and highly protective nature that would send every new postal carrier fleeing for the protection of their van. Binky loved running and I would take him to the Gorton field where with a tennis racket I would hit a ball as far or as high as I could. It was a time before people became apoplectic over the leash law. Sometimes there were two or three other people walking their dogs off leash. Binky wasn’t interested in them. He was focused on me and the racket. He’d crouch, ready to take off. Binky’s speed and mid-air gyrations to catch the ball were amazing and often attracted spectators. When we were over, I’d head for the car. Binky knew the game was over and would have beaten me there, jumping through the open window.
I can only imagine what he thought of the lawn mower, but it became another game. There were always a couple of tennis balls in the yard and as soon as he heard the mower, he’d find one. At first he’d place it in the path of the mower and wait for me to come to a stop, pick it up and throw it. Mowing the lawn with Binky turned a 45 minute job into an afternoon project. At first I pocketed the slobbery ball, but Binky kept nosing me. Finally, I came up with a new Binky game. I’d drop the ball on the swath I had just cut going in the opposite direction and give it a kick. Sometimes it only went a couple of feet and other times it took off. Binky didn’t care. He’d get it and after crewing it until you could hear the squeak of rubber, disgorge it close enough to be kicked on the return cut. Mowing the lawn was a game of kickball, a diversion of the monotony of the task that had Binky worn out by the time I was finished.
I would have loved to have had Binky’s company on Monday and he came to mind when I spotted our resident robin. He’s well fed and Carol swears he’s the bird that spends the winter with us. Indeed, he’s a fat one which could well be the result of the raisins she puts out in the winter months.
The robin – we haven’t named him yet – hopped across the uncut grass until he reached a freshly cut lane. He then started the characteristic robin run and stop routine. He picked up a couple of grubs, then took flight to scout out the lane I just finished. Perhaps the rewards were greatest among the newest cuts, for when I made the turn, there he was waiting to follow in my path. A couple of observant Mourning Doves picked up on his find, but they weren’t nearly as bold and remained distant followers.
I’ve opined in this column before that as beings sharing this planet whether there is an undefinable form of communication between us. There are numerous stories of dogs, cats, birds, horses and other animals seemingly understanding our situations and reaching out to comfort, guide and warn us.
“Our” robin may have done nothing more than take advantage of my mowing routine. On the other hand, he has sharing my company and I like to think this is not a first and only visit and next time he’ll be there to follow me lane by lane to keep me company and....pick up a grub or two.