Sunday, April 1, 2012

Rites of Spring (Resartus)

[Well, so much for our fortnight of spoofs, culminating on April Fool’s.
We now return to our Lenten senses, and greet the arrival of Spring -- wherein all is renewed, the very emblem of our risen Lord.  And to this end, re-post this piece, still in the ludic spirit, for celebration of the Maker’s works  need not be solemn.

Among our Latin ancestors, this rite of spring was known as the Dies secandae primae herbae, celebrated much as we do today, though with a greater expenditure of virgins.  We note in passing that this Day of First Mowing falls this year two weeks in advance of last, a veritable Belshazzar signpost of advancing climate change.]

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Yesterday  I hauled the old lawnmower out of the shed, where it had long lain hibernating.   (I say “the” shed  since the reference is in fact unambiguous:   unlike Arthur ‘Two Sheds’ Jackson, I personally possess only one shed.)  I gassed ‘er up, and, in lieu of actually oiling anything or “replacing the plugs and points” (what is a point, exactly?), since I don’t understand anything about lawnmowers, I contented myself with prodding it here and there with my toe, and eyeing it with a masculine, propriety air -- with just a hint of asperity to it, along the lines of, “Let’s not have any of that won’t-start-up nonsense this time, shall we?”
For we have here that annually recurring agony of vernal uncertainty.   You set your stance, seize the ripcord, let loose your mightiest tug, and… it either leaps to life with a throaty roar, or… splutters impotently, mocking you, and then you’re hosed.
(I must here explain for the ladies, who would otherwise scarcely understand, that failure of one’s lawnmower to start, is humiliating for a man.)
Yet lo!   With a deafening neigh  worthy of Bucephalus,

Dr Justice, taming his lawnmower

and a forward leap recalling Pegasus,

My trusty mower, defeating the weeds

the noble mower sprang into action -- the very first on our cul-de-sac, this season, to do so!
Thanking the gods, I strode forward, laying low the uppity tussocks  and insolent weeds,  like Hector mowing down Myrmidons, relishing in Man’s estate.
In ancient Rome, it was considered a most auspicious omen, when one’s lawnmover started right up  in the spring.

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