In and around the Spotsylvania area saving old tractors or restoring them to their original condition seems like a pretty cool hobby of sorts. You’ll also see the typical harry homeowner riding mower. Looking at the tractor below it appears like it used to cut grass or hay based on the deck that is hanging towards the bottom. You can see the deck has a wheel that used to run a belt which most likely turned a blade. The steering wheel is steel and was probably rough on the hands which is why the owner put tape on the steering wheel to lesson the wear and tear on his hands. The engine probably generated a tremendous amount of torque in order to handle the tough business of being a farmer.
Lets take a close look at this tractor and see what images, thoughts and imagination it may conjure up.
I see a strong man that is used to working with his hands wearing denim overalls with a closely shaved head. This man is not highly educated in a traditional sense but he can tell you anything you need know about his land, his crops or the changing of the seasons. He knows things that are long forgotten that our modern world finds useless yet are so essential to the basics of how we survive at the most primitive level. As he lifts his hands to his face daily his hands are tired but strong, filled with callous as they have worked this tractor over and over, day after day and year after year. His ball cap is dirty, the bill is sweaty but the mans demeanor is quiet and calm. He lives a good average life, has a focus on his family but his strong back is tired from his weekly labors. The tires on this tractor are fitted with solid American steel wheels and the rubber is made to be long lasting to handle the long miles this workhorse has to endure. The tread on the back wheels are designed to transfer the massive torque to the rear in order to handle whatever load is necessary or drive through mud that the tractor may sink in.
Not only is this mower facing the other direction it has a different mission, a different character, a different owner and a different name. Spotsylvania is not only home to real famers or farmers from another generation; Spotsylvania is also home to suburbia. Look at the contrasting life of the iron tractor vs. the plastic mass produced rider mower. This mower too summons the imagination of a lifestyle well known in Spotsylvania and a type of person that swiftly moves about their land to pridefully manage what little they actually own. I see a man that works in the comfort of an office in an air-conditioned space. He’s smart, savvy and perhaps well groomed and well spoken. I wouldn’t go as far as saying he is a plastic man because his body is still strong and his mind is swift and calculated. He’s spent his time in the beginning working with his back but his back and shoulders are still strong physically and figuratively. He can handle a lot of pressure and stares down life’s real burdens with a wink and a smile. He mows his lawn on Saturdays or Sundays and grips that plastic steering wheel like he too is an old farmer. He cruises around his yard with a little sweat dripping off his brow depending on the time of year and leverages a tried and true pattern for his mowing that he has repeated over an over. That patterned repetition and noise from the Briggs and Stratton engine provides him a certain solitude from the weeks pain. It’s a time of deep thought and meditation where he is able to be by himself and reflect on his many blessings. When he finishes the job he looks down at his hands and they are soft and smooth. Those hands do have a long memory of where they have been. His hands are still strong and are at the ready in the event that they need to transform back into laboring tools like the farmer of old.
I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the story lines. Be good to your friends and neighbors.
Do take care,