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Last Mowing Revisited

LastmowingEighteen years ago, I wrote a post, the Last Mowing.  We had been living in Roanoke, up on the mountain for fifteen years.  It was hard to get used to mowing the yard in December after years in New Brunswick where the snow could come in November and cover the ground until mid-May. 

Except for the green grass in December, there  were parts of living on the mountain that reminded us of our years in Canada.  The sometimes snowy weather was one thing and the friendly people were the other.

When you come over our hill after dark, it is almost like an approach to the airport. The city is spread out before you, street lights blinking, and buildings glowing. There are not many views in the world that can compete with it.

Being on top of the world at the end of the road seems to make us closer. Perhaps we have been drawn closer by the few times that the county has forgotten to plow the snow off the road in the winter.

Flatlanders, that is anyone who does not live on the hill, often ask how we get up the hill in the winter. Actually getting up the hill has rarely been the problem. All of us at the top have at least one four wheel drive. It takes less than one winter to realize that going down the hill is far more exciting than going up. I have been fortunate to have a job that allows me to work at home when necessary. That means that snowy morning’s entertainment usually is watching the folks who have to go to work try to get down the hill safely.

Our  first year on the mountain, we got an early coat of ice.  Everyone on the hill banded together and we cut a single tire track all the way to the bottom of the hill.  It was the first of many weather adventures on the hill.  We saw snow storms that were worthy of Canada.

It was a good place to live  and while we lived there, those of us at the top of the hill were a tight-knit group.  and I remember more parties than disagreements.  After we moved from the hill,  most friends drifted away but we remain close to one family that grew up with our children.

A lot of water has passed under me in skiff and kayak in the fifteen years after we moved from Roanoke and lived on North Carolina’s Crystal Coast.  My crocs also covered many miles of sandy beach. Yet I still fondly remember the years when we partied on our decks whenever given the slightest chance. There was no close neighborhood group in our coastal subdivision. I will blame it on the lack of any steep hills.

After fifteen years in the marsh, we moved from the coast during the pandemic.  Selling, buying, and moving during a pandemic are not the easiest things to do, but with lots of help, we managed to find a nice neighborhood less than half an hour from where I grew up in North Carolina’s Piedmont. We even found a home with a real backyard instead of a marsh or a ravine.

While my family has deep roots here, many who have been close to us are much older even than us.  The younger generation has their own busy lives and there is little to connect us with the neighborhood. Last year none of our immediate neighbors even attended the annual neighborhood HOA picnic with free (well it is covered by your dues) barbecue.

When we lived at the coast, we had a wonderful church family but we lost that when we moved.  Because of the pandemic, we remain video-church goers.  If the pandemic recedes further, perhaps we will find another church family.

Age, changes due to the way people live, some driven by the pandemic and even political divisions make it harder to connect.

Much like it was in early December eighteen years ago in Roanoke, we just had our last mowing of the yard here in North Carolina’s Piedmont hill country. Our fescue yard is still green like our bluegrass one in Roanoke so there is a chance it will be mowed again.

Our yards might be much the same green in December but somehow it feels like our world has changed.   In is unlikely we will have as close a group of friends as we did in Roanoke both on the hill and in the flatlands. Having children in school makes it easy to have common ground.  The Roanoke friends will have to share a spot in our fond memories of the friends we made during our years on the farm and in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

I have always believed that  there are good people everywhere, you just have to work harder in some places to find them than others.  I have seen nothing to change my mind in our latest move. We are finding our new ones, one at a time.

January 01, 2022