out mowing the lawn, I slipped into my traditional path of overlapping
tire marks as I make each pass. Itís one of the ways I can be
certain that Iím not leaving a missed strip of grass behind me
as I move along.
a ride on mower, I set myself up to make narrowing circles. And,
after a lap or two around the outer edge, I switch directions.
change in directions is mainly for two reasons, but both involve
the discharge chute. When Iím doing the first pass, which means
riding up close to walls and fences and such, that chute could
leave a foot or more of unmowed grass. Go with chute facing the
other way, and I basically leave a smaller trail that weed whacking
later can pick up. The other reason is that when I switch directions,
the chute direction reverses and I begin sending the clippings
out into the area already mowed, which means I donít wind up with
an ever-increasing pile in the middle of my circles.
of the funny things that happens on a really sunny day is that
when you are consistent in your efforts week after week, you can
wind up losing your place between the mowed and the unmowed. This
is especially true on that first run around after switching directions.
I didnít come here to talk to you about lawn mowing methods. I
came to talk about God.
have my troubles with religion. Not major troubles. Perhaps we
can call them significant questions. And, all things considered,
the part thatís important is I have my doubts.
Iím open to the existence of a higher power. And occasionally,
I see signs that assist in the possibility of finding just such
an existence. One of them comes from the lawn.
Iím driving in the same direction, I can see the tire marks. I
can see the grass that Iíve cut and that I havenít better. Itís
when I change directions and go against myself that the troubles
begin. Itís kind of a physical and theoretical example of God.
I hear you. I understand the concerns with my suggesting that
mowing lawn and the way grass bends after being run over is an
existence of a higher power.
master plan of creation, so that things move and react and bend
a certain way. And that way guides me along the path. Itís amazingly
religious, to be honest.
sure, not religious at all. Itís just science. Physics and botany
and whatever else youíd like to consider. The position of the
sun in the sky, and the reaction of grass after being driven over,
andÖ andÖ all sorts of stuff.
fact, if not science, how about just coincidence? Itís not a higher
power. Some would argue itís just being observant.
itís with that in mind that we make a shift to the higher power
you ever known a bird to own a computer? When was the last time
you were aware of a cardinal reading a newspaper? Are there any
examples of a blue jay watching a weather forecast and making
plans as a direct result of what it saw?
answers are likely no, no and no. Fair enough.
Heckscher might have something different to say.
studies birds. Not weather. Birds. Heís an ornithologist. Over
roughly twenty years of working with a breed of thrush called
veeries, he began noting some strange deviations in the annual
migrations. (Turns out, they head to Brazil for the winter.)
Heckscher noticed was that the breeding season varied in length
from year to year. And, when he began looking for reasons, one
thing that lined up with his findings was the strength of the
2018, he published a paper on it. That very year the veery predicted
a strong tropical storm season while meteorological sources precited
a weaker season. The veery got it right.
think about that for a moment. A species of bird, one that essentially
migrates across the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, is darn
good at predicting the dangers of a stronger hurricane season.
In many ways, it seems to make sense. But these arenít birds using
computers, reading newspapers or watching weather forecasts. There
is no 1-800 hotline for the veery to use that directly connects
with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
what the heck are they seeing and sensing that scientists, meteorologists,
computer programmers and more are missing?
itís a blade of grass.