The Hissing of...

She could see the valley barbecues
From her window sill
See the blue pools in the squinting sun
Hear the hissing of summer lawns
— Joni Mitchell

By Patrick La Roque

My mind inevitably jumps to the opening scene of Edward Scissorhands—those pastel greens and baby blues, the prim and proper cult of summer lawns in full mechanical display. Modern life may have broken up rhythms but the ritual remains: North American suburbia is lawnmower country, through and through.

It’s messy, annoying, loud...and yet for me, the smell of freshly mowed grass IS summer. It’s pool water, buzzing cicadas and kids in the park, shouting at each other over popsicles. It’s my dad in his Kodiak boots, cigarette dangling from his mouth, planting tomatoes in the garden. Briquettes turning white hot in the family BBQ. My parents having tea outside as the sun sets and the bugs invade—damn mosquitoes.

So many promises and seasons gone,
     thru a haze of flies and a splash of gasoline.