Today I mowed the lawn for the first time since I was in high school and I must say I found it quite refreshing. I’m now able to appreciate it and see it for the connection to one’s habitat that it is. That said, there’s a few things I’ve learned along the way on our various riding mowers throughout the years that help things go a lot smoother.

1. Wear sunglasses. Not only to shield yourself from the sun, but also to protect your eyes from any chopped up grass bits that love to get in there and fuck up your vision.

2. The later in the afternoon (or earlier in the morning if there’s no dew) you cut the lawn the better. Deciding to do it at high noon and during the sun’s strongest hours will only make the project completely frustrating.

3. Remember the iPod—though in my younger days it was a tape player and then a discman. Music helps the task go faster and keeps you in a positive mood.

4. Watch out for low hanging branches. I’ve been cut and poked in the face so many times trying to weave my way as close to a tree as I could, but I’ve learned to perfect the lean off to one side when low branches approach. But go too far off the seat and our John Deere stalls out because there’s no weight on the seat. So it’s a delicate balance one must learn.

5. Beware of stones, they’ll fuck up the blade pretty bad. And making sure to pick up any large sticks and twigs beforehand helps keep the blade it’s sharpest.

6. A beer in hand can go a long way.