Janet Hommel Mangas: Decades later, bushhogging and Baby John

I hadn’t done either for quite a number of years — but once I got in the groove it felt instinctual.

I think the first time I ran a tractor with a bush-hog was when I was a fresh-faced, 25-year-old college-graduate. Back then, I liked the hours it took to cut the weeds and tall grass by towing the three-point hitch hog behind the work-place 1952 Ford tractor.

She (the tractor) was Ford red and very light grey in color and ran like a charm — but it was sometimes a challenge to get the teeth of the PTO shaft (which links power from the tractor to the bush rotary blades) connected.

But when I was clearing land for hours, I would think about the columns I would be writing as a correspondent for the Indianapolis Evening News and freelance articles for magazines. Back in the mid 1980s, I would also be goal-setting as I also taught aerobics at Gold’s Gym in Greenwood, and walked a few Indianapolis runways (modeling, not airport runways. That would be dangerous and against the FFA regulations.)

These were the mowing thoughts of a young 25-year-old.

Thirty-seven years later, seated on a shiny new green tractor and bushhog, it felt instinctual. As my tractor and bushhog left behind wavy, clean lines in the field — lines that would impress any skilled barber — my mind was free to wander.

Thirty-seven years later, my mowing thoughts are still full of goal-setting, but infused with more prayer and contentment. Prayers for our growing grandson, our daughters and son-in-laws, our mothers, our extended family and friends and our community.

Our new green tractor and bush hog PTO fit seamlessly together like sliding on a glove — new technology upgrades, I’m assuming. So, 37 years later I got to cut the weeds and high grass moving slowly as I adventured unfamiliar terrain and obstacles.

A day later, as I was rocking my 5-week-old grandson on the porch — relaxed and enjoying life at its fullest — I exhaled a sigh of blessing.

And I thought about the correlation to cuddling Baby John while he sleeps and bush-hogging: just move slow and enjoy the process.