Ah, the smell of fresh cut grass in the hot days of summer.
Long time readers know I enjoy summer days more than anything else: having been born in Phoenix I like hot 365 days a year. Call me crazy.
Like every season summer has its rituals. The backyard barbecue (we do not spell it with a “q” in Texas, by God), wading in cool creeks and yes, the smell of fresh cut grass early in the morning before its too hot.
I don’t know if you mow your lawn – probably not. Like changing your own motor oil its become a lost art, but I like to mow my postage-stamp sized lawn myself with my $20 push reel-mower. No need to burn fossil fuels here. A funny thing happens when you mow your lawn: birds congregate knowing you’ve just stirred up the surface. And when that happens, insects and worms are suddenly stimulated to move around. On the newly lowered surface. As in, for breakfast.
Birds flock to the lawn after I make a pass down one length and continue to do so over and over following me. Yea, verily, these birds will be happy for the next hour or two enjoying the easy pickings as the lawn is now their buffet.
The other day I noticed one bird who wasn’t eating as much as he was guarding. Guarding his turf. This bird was so focused on not letting any other get near his little “patch” he spent all his time keeping his circle clear by attempting to scare other birds away. As I sat on the stoop with a long tall drink of water I marveled at how much energy this bird expended protecting his territory.
And not eating.
The other birds ate their fill and moved from time to time to the spaces the first bird abandoned to protect new territory and by and by they were satisfied and left. Except the guarding bird now reduced to scavenging for scraps after the first and second courses were long consumed by his foes. My hungry friend was so busy protecting what he had he never got to use it or enjoy it.
Isn’t that bird a bit like you and me sometime? Working so hard at keeping others at bay we forget what we’re really here for? You’ve seen it as I have: insisting on continuing a strategy that doesn’t work, well, because its out strategy. Hoping against hope that a poor performer will turn around because we want them too. Trying to save our way to greatness by slashing costs again and again.
Acting like my friend vainly struggling to defend his territory. Instead of using it. Yet the status quo never is.
Don’t fall into the trap of the hungry bird my friends. Do what you need to do now, make choices, and move on. Trying to protect your territory, brand and influence by warding others off instead of engaging with them will only leave you hungry and behind. Nothing stays static.
Its time to cut the lawn.