I Did Not Mow The Lawn That Day by John Henderson

My idea was to mow the lawn.

First, however, fallen branches

had to be cleared.

Turned out that was a much bigger

job than first I imagined.

More than one storm

had brought down branches.

So an hour later, still at it,

while bending over to pick up one limb, my iPhone popped out of my pocket. Said I to myself, you didn’t even realize you had it in your pocket, did you?

That’s how you lost it the last time.

Remember?

But did I walk back to the house

immediately and shed myself of the iPhone?

No.

My argumentative self convinced me

that I was almost done with the job.

And now I was paying attention.

I’d be careful.

I was careful.

Then, soon the job was done.

So I slapped my hand

against my breast pocket

to confirm the phone was still there.

It wasn’t.

But it had to be.

I had been careful.

If it had slipped out,

surely I would have noticed.

I touched my shirt pocket again.

Not oddly, the phone was still

not there.

Fortunately, I knew exactly the path I had taken, back and forth and back and forth.

They were the only steps I had taken

in close to an hour.

And my track was the neither far nor wide.

A quick look is all it would take.

In a moment I’d see it.

A quick look

however,

did not recover

the iPhone.

Nonetheless, it had to be there.

I searched again

more carefully.

I searched several times.

Then several more times.

No luck.

No need to panic, though.

Right?

And once I had found it, thought I,

I might even write

a long narrative

of my successful quest.

But even with that silly encouragement, I did not, could not find the phone.

In my search, I moved the entire pile

of the limbs and brush to a new spot.

(I had examined the new spot carefully first for a missing phone.

It was not there.)

I retraced my steps along the path

several more times.

Not fruitlessly,

since I picked up more limbs,

twigs, and leaf mold along the way

and put them in the pile

in its new location.

It wasn’t likely

those limbs and twigs would be hiding the lost object and they were not.

Then I retraced my steps while pulling up tall grass and weeds.

The phone refused to be found.

All my initial eager encouragement

went into a tailspin.

But I did not lose hope.

I wasn’t done yet.

Doesn’t everyone praise perseverance?

I now decided a new strategy was necessary.

Hey, we now had fiber optics.

Installed that very morning.

I could test the claimed enhanced range of our WiFi.

I would locate the phone.

I borrowed Margaret’s iPhone,

but didn’t call yet.

I waited until I stood over a likely spot in the grass.

Quite a distance from the house,

there was still one bar on the WiFi icon.

This is a stronger signal indeed,

I smiled,

than the phone

had shown before

when this far outside the house.

I dialed.

I waited.

After a long frustrating many seconds, I got a message.

My call had failed.

But the enhanced signal!

I tried again.

Failure.

Walking back to the house

I reminded myself about

perseverance.

I asked Margaret to call my phone

from inside the house.

This time it would work.

It had to.

But, Margaret, please wait.

I wanted to be in place

before she made the call.

Back where I knew

the phone just had to be,

I hollered to Margaret

on the other side of

an open window

to

make

the

call.

Immediately

I heard

my phone

ring.

I followed

the sound

and

after

not

very

many

steps

(not many steps at all),

there it was

in plain site

about three feet away

from where I had searched

multiple times.

Many multiple times.

I had my iPhone.

Relief.

Not just in finding the phone,

but in not having to replace

all and everything

that was stored inside.

Phone numbers

Passwords

Notes

Photographs

Kitten’s lapping tongues

and puppy dog tails

Perhaps now you feel rather exhausted

just from hearing my tale.

Maybe that little weariness can provide you a bit of insight to my feeling of frustration and exhaustion and frantic anxious emotion, but finally almost elation.

There’s an emotion

wordless

that I think we must all feel

when frantically searching

for something lost

that can’t be produced in retrospect

once the treasure’s been found.

I did not mow the lawn that day.