They were on the swing, William and Everett, talking and laughing above the lawnmower’s din, waiting to play with their father who was, as you might imagine, mowing the lawn.
From my seat here at the kitchen table I could see the boys’ heads rise momentarily into view and then swing away again. I could see the swings’ ropes twist and then uncoil; I watched William wrap a swing once around the arm that holds them.
I was doing some writing, not really fully attending to them in the yard. And then I looked again, and could clearly see Everett on his now-higher swing. And where William had been, there was Bill, sitting on a swing, smiling at Everett. And still the lawnmower’s steady whir and the smell of mown grass.
I stood up and watched him: William, 9, pushing the lawnmower. He just took a couple swipes at the lawn, really. He just pushed it a few yards and then his father was back at it. Bill says that next summer it can be one of his chores, and I’m sure that by then he’ll have the height and leverage to do it. That will be a big help to his father and I think that, for awhile anyway, it will be a job he likes.
Still it seems hard to believe. I would swear he was just four yesterday, and four isn’t old enough to mow the lawn. Not Nearly.