Tanya has discovered how to open her crate door even after it’s locked so last night I wound up with Tanya curled up beside me. She sleeps easily, curled up and formed to my body, like Lucas used to do, and I cannot stop that comparison between the two dogs. But I have to get up before the sun does today and I cannot sleep in. Tanya’s occupation of the bed, much to the dismay of the resident dogs, only lasts a few hours. After breakfast we all take a walk in the predawn darkness and observe the damage left by the storm; there are limbs down, lots of Spanish moss on the ground, and everything is very wet. Now is a very good time to begin mowing.
I hate mowing. I’ve hated it since I was a kid and I’ve learned to hate it just slightly less as an adult.This is the middle of June and mowing season will only last about two more months. I may have to mow about ten more times, but the grass will get thicker and thicker until last August. I’ve let it go for about a week now and the Deep End of the yard, where the grass is fullest, is going to be a problem. I’m also going to expand the mowing and push the borders out from the yard, to make sure the clear zones stay clear. I think I can get this all done in about three hours with a push mower.
There a tendency for me to give up on the back yard and let it go when I’m tired so I begin it first. The sun is just getting up and poking through the trees as I hit the halfway mark. The area where Tyger Linn tried to face down another Cottonmouth is a little too overgrown for my liking. I try to imagine how the snake got from where it was to where we found it and it would seem an unlikely adventure for the animal to undertake. It had to pass through a clear zone to get into a place where there was only high grass for cover. But there is no telling why it was going from one place to another and could have been trying to get away from a larger predator, which doesn’t soothe me overmuch.
I refuel even though the tank isn’t empty as I head towards the front yard. I’ll take a break in a few minutes and then take another when I run out of fuel, and by the time I’m done with front, yes, it will be time. The break is for ten minutes and one Monster energy drink. I feel the buzz begin after just a few moments. Yes, yes, we have fuel!
The Deep End is really deep and I have to mow slowly even though the caffeine is flailing me like a chemical whip. Push it, push it, keep moving, keep going, and with each pass the area I have to mow grows somewhat smaller. Through the years the yard has evolves, morphed and changed into something much different than it was fourteen years ago. Since I declared war on the vines in the trees at the fence line to the west of the house, the trees have grown taller and much fuller. There is more shade now and in a place where there was once lush grass it is now scraggly and nearly bare. But because a large Oak died the area where it once stood now has a lot more grass than it did. I miss that tree. I miss having to mow around it. I miss its shade and its huge limbs casting a shadow over the front lawn like an umbrella. I miss the sound of its leaves in the wind. Human life is terribly, terribly, short for we cannot see our trees grown into giants. But human life is also horribly long because we outlive our dogs, again and again. This thought causes me to pause and consider what I am doing and why; there is so very much of human activity that is more or less pointlessly repetitive, and futile.
The front yard is done and I stop long enough to drink water and refuel again. Two hours have passed now, and I’m going to go for another hour and stop. The back yard is more shaded, less full, and it has more than its share of Spanish moss lying in grey mounds, like some odd sleeping mammals. That kicks off the idea of writing a story where people live with huge beasts, each larger than one hundred elephants. They would be like land dwelling whales that sucked up earth and spit out everything that wasn’t part of their diet, which humans would be. How would civilization form under such conditions? How would we be able to find a way to prosper? I like the story and imagine I would have to set parameters of how deep the creatures fed and how often and how many of them there would be.
Along with having to avoid being eaten, you know people would find a way to ride these creatures. Imagine climbing in fur so thick and long you would never fear falling. The ascent to the top would take a day or so but in one day the creature would travel hundreds of miles, easily.
The back yard slowly dissolves into think about the Moss Monsters story and I like it. But I have to start paying attention again when I begin to push the wild stuff back at the edges. I open up more and more area where the dogs usually go and now there is less and less area that is wooly, like a mammoth!
Three hours deep into the adventure I have done all I have come here to do. The yard is a much different place than it was at dawn. The wildness I hold so dear has been trimmed back in the name of security and Tyger Linn. I cannot imagine what she will be like in ten years.