Yesterday, I set out to mow my grass at about one in the afternoon. The Heat Index was triple digits and the humidity was worse. I haven’t challenged the heat lately, okay, not at all this Summer. I use a push mower with close to an acre to cut. The mower roars to life on the first pull and the tank is full. There are very few activities that I do that can be called totally mindless, and even perhaps senseless, but mowing is both. Yet the one year I decided not to mow the first yard my neighbors, who think highly of me, I think, came over and mowed my yard for me. So, I’m thinking now about turning it into a large garden.
The one thing I really want to do, but I know it’s a serious liability is have some sort of holding pond in the yard. It would be nice to have a little waterfall to listen to in the late hours of the day, but the energy it would take to create and maintain it, the electricity it would take to run it, and the problems inherent in having a water source near the woods, makes me hesitate. The first deer that stood in it to drink would puncture the lining and that would be that.
So far, I’ve had deer, horses, a mule and a donkey, a herd of cows, a pair of emus, a peacock, and a lost soul or two show up unexpectedly in my yard. This isn’t counting a few dozen snakes, amphibians, turtles, and an appearance by an eagle, twice. Get a Koi pond in the country they said, it will be relaxing they said. It would be a buffet within a week. Still, I have to admit there’s a certain draw to see exactly who and what would show up.
Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth; I realize that thoughts of a Cottonmouth Pond in the yard has caused me to lose track of the time. I’m almost half way done with the front yard. The heat and the humidity is causing my safety glass to fill with sweat, and I wouldn’t wear them except I got popped by a piece of a stick that had ricocheted out from under the mower years ago. I lost vision in my right eye for nearly a week and even though an eye doctor assured me I would be okay, it was freaky to be half blind.
I have a lot to do, past this chore, and as I mow I realize that I’m not going to get done mowing today, and Monday ought to be interesting. There’s plenty of vines out there to be cut away from the fence and the young trees. There’s a lot of bushy stuff too near the fence. There’s several dead trees on the trail that has to be moved. It was a busy storm season last year and I’ve not been diligent.
There’s a fire that has to be built, and yeah, I know, triple digit heat with heat indices that stagger the imagination aren’t exactly conducive to great fire weather, but I have a yearn, a yearn to burn. I have to buy a rake today, also. There’s a lot that has to be done, and even though I have some time off, there is always the very present danger of procrastination.
The front yard is mowed and I have to push the mower under the hot wire once I raise it. Budlore Amadeus is intensely interested in this process, but all he really knows is there is a lot of hurt running along inside that wire. He would like to know more, perhaps he will Goggle it, but he isn’t getting any closer than he has to and he doesn’t have to at all. The other dogs have all seen mowers many times in their lives, but this seems to be Bud’s first experience with lawn care, or at least the mitigation of lawn neglect.
There’s a story drifting inside my mind somewhere, vague and lifeless at this point, like an pair of cells that might become an embryo. I think about what it would be like to live in a world where failure at even some of the most mundane things meant death. Really want a promotion at work? Ask for a raise and get it or get shot for asking. Or maybe there’s a small group of people interviewing for a job. There are three chairs in a waiting room where there are cameras. As one person is called into the interview the next is called into wait. The three waiting know there’s only one position open and the losers all get shot. Will those waiting try to influence the person behind them or in front of them or remain silent?
Can the person who just left the waiting room teach you anything to use against the next person? Are the cameras in the room part of the interview process? Suppose you could quit the interview and choose to spend a year at hard labor, plus losing your current job and social status? If the person ahead of you, or behind you, seemed stunningly good, would you bail out? And suppose if you interviewed poorly, the end came swiftly. You’re in the middle chair, and ten minutes into the current interview there is a scream and then a gunshot. The person in the first chair when you came in has just been executed and you thought she was a damn good candidate. Was it something she said in here?
The person next to you, but closest to the door breaks down and begins sobbing, he bails out, and they drag him away. The person ahead of you is called in and now you’re next. You have a half an hour to decide, unless there is another gunshot. The clock is ticking as the next person is led in, and you two nod at one another.