Everyday Artists

The world's greatest artists walk you through simple, everyday tasks.

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The choice of which grass to populate the yard begins with knowledge of sight. It is necessary to keep one’s compass in one’s eyes and not in the hand, for the hands execute, but the eye judges. It is God’s finger that reaches to Adam, but his eye, his soul, engulfs him. Such then is your soul in evaluating your ideal lawn. Remember always that the greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.

In choosing your grass, eliminate such dark entities as turf, or decorative rocks. And the promises of crabgrass are, for the most part, vain phantoms. Judge first your climate, bestowed by God. If you are of colder climate, place faith in the fescue, or bluegrass. If you are of warmer variety, zoysia or St. Augustine will give you the medium with which to craft your own Sistine Chapel.

Every blade of grass has a statue inside it, a David or a Pieta or even a Bacchus, and it is the task of the mower to discover it. The grass not yet mown can hold the form of every thought the greatest artist has. That is the word of focus here—thought. One mows with their brains and not their hands.

Whether mounted atop a rider as Moses guarding the tablets, or a pushing a standard mower as Joseph of Arimathea pushed the Lord Jesus to his feet, prepare the mind to see and the hands to create. It is not such an easy thing, mind you. If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery of my front lawn, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all. I am still learning.

It is in the forethought that the result is born. A steady checkered pattern, like Doni Tondo, is achieved by planning. By alternating up and down, as if weaving. There is no greater sight than the class checkered on St. Augustine. But once the mastery has been achieved, there are options—the spiral staircase, the criss-cross, the razzle dazzle. So long as the mind wanders, the options present themselves.

Pray with me now: Lord, grant that I may always desire more than I can accomplish. Amen.

Now it is up to us, as it is up to the Lord on the last day, to deliver our Last Judgement upon the blades beneath our feet. Mow now. Mow, as if Pope Clement VII has commissioned it of you. And perhaps he has, sitting in his basalt chair in the heavens above.

A final thought before beginning—You may wish to bring a cold washrag, or glass of water, for the summer months are unforgiving and, while they cannot be defeated, they can be subjugated. Allow yourself to Madonna the child you will become in the pitiless monster of summer heat.

Walk steady, walk true, while pushing the mower. Or, if riding, take care not to joyride. You are here to mow, to create, to sculpt the history of yourself, the Lord your God, and your lawn. And while there is no greater harm than that of time wasted, genius is eternal patience, and in mowing, there is a foundation of patience required to free the beauty from the ground.

Make sure not to lose The Deluge at the edges of your lawn, perhaps upon the property line or along fences. For this, we venture away from the usual instruments of lawn sculpting and to the more specified chisel, the weed whacker, minding that no length of grass escapes the artist’s eye, lest it be judged unfairly by the eternal eye of God, who beholds all.

On completing the lawn, marvel at your handiwork. A beautiful yard never gives so much pain as does failing to hear and see it. If we have been pleased with a good mowing, we should not be displeased with death, since it comes from the hand of the same master.

Congratulate oneself with an imagining of the next time. There is always another, so long as God is willing. Imagine the front lawn of God in the interim. A truly beautiful lawn is but a shadow of the divine perfection.