I put off the first mowing of the season as long as I could. The guys who sharpened our circa 1940 mower said it’s “on its last leg” – and I don’t think it was an accident that they used the singular. It probably lost its penultimate leg last year.

But they did a wonderful job of sharpening it – it sounded like scissors as I pushed it through the grass. Then I trimmed, and swept, and raked up needles. It looked tidy when I was done, but it wasn’t all that satisfying – not the way nurturing a plant to its full potential would be.