Sunday, June 19, 2016

I Fought the Lawn and the Lawn Won: Return to The Holey Land.

When Bert the Muttibeast was still in his prime he was an earthmover. The dog dug. To say that Bert created burrows is like saying trees create pollen. The dog put his paws into the dirt and opened up caves that Hobbits could find rings in. The first house I owned had holes in it so deep it took half a truck load of dirt to fill them up. I filled in the holes the day before we moved, otherwise Bert would have dug it all out again.

When Bert arrived here at Hickory Head he wasted no time in going back to his old habits and the dog dug epic burrows. Sam, Sam, The Happy Hound soon joined us and joined Bert in excavation projects that the Egyptians would have been envious of in their prime. I called this part of the yard, The Holey Land. Lucas was never as serious about the Center of the Earth as his older brothers but he could dig, too. Now there are The Cousins. The Epic Digging has returned.

I have a twenty-two inch push mower. Last week I was pushing it into the Holey Land and it slipped into a bunker the size of a small Water Buffalo. One part of the blade snapped off and it spun into infinity but the end result was a wicked vibration that prevented me from finishing, hell, I just got started. That was last week and The Hoely Land really needed a close shave. After about four inches of rain since the last mowing it down needed attention like a Canadian college girl’s nether regions a week before spring break.

Seriously, I needed to mow that thing.

The problem was, and still is, the Holey Land, and I just realized I have a double entendre going, is full of holes. I have to push down on the handle, push the mower over or around the holes, and all the while try not to fall in myself. A patch of ground that it ought to take fifteen or twenty minutes, at most, takes the better part of an hour if I want my mower and ankles to survive the experience.

Still, it is not impossible and it is sort of like trying to figure out that video game where the fall puzzle pieces have to be slipped into place. The dogs all stand on the deck and watch this with head tilts, and suppressed laugher I suspect. But it will make it harder for ticks to get on them and it will make it easier for me to see them in the backyard.

But I wend and weave my way through The Holey Land, and manage to knock most of the taller weeds down. The other half of the backyard, where no grass has ever ground very well, is barren of holes, oddly enough. The Cousins only like to dig through green grass for some reason. Bert was like that too.

The front yard, mostly flat, devoid of dogs, and lush, is easier to mow so I save it for last. It takes about an hour and a half to mow The Holey Land and an hour for the front, if I move quickly, and I do. There’s a Sci Fi story reborn into my head and I wonder if it was what kept me up last night. It has everything a story needs, metaphorically; a knight in shining armor, or a hero, an evil King, a damsel in distress, and an evil witch. But there is a lot of grey areas in all of these people’s lives and without a moment’s hesitation each and every one of them allow things to happen they thinks is wrong in the name of promoting their own purpose.

It gets me to thinking.

Suppose your standard of living could be measured on a scale from zero to ten, with zero being dead broke in a third world slum with no way out. Then, let us also suppose your moral compass could also be measured, by what you believe, on a scale of zero to ten, with zero being you know better but will do anything anyway for any reason, and ten being you wouldn’t do anything against your code.

I hope to create people who have zero ethics, totally immoral people, who live for the moment and to burn through what money they have before they die or are killed. On the other hand, there are people willing to die rather than betray their code. In the middle are the rest of us trying to figure it out.

The hero in the story is someone with a terrible past. He is the Man who created the computer program which creates new constitutions for emerging states. Earth was thrown into a period of war, and there were losers and winners. Now, boundaries are being redrawn and instead of countries with geographic regions there are “Resource Areas” that belong to the people who live there, and of course, anyone who designed the program happens to include as “Guardians” until the region can fully defend itself economically.

It’s a world where children are conceived and grown in labs, trained for whatever work their region is assigned, and no one has parents, partners or family. Social cohesion is defined by profit and production. It’s a fairly bleak place.

I get a lot of this figured out and realize most of the mowing is nearly done. The Zen quality of mindless yardwork has once again produce clarity as well as exhaustion. There is a nice breeze blowing now, and the ungodly heat that suffocated us last week as relented, a bit, and the day doesn’t feel half bad at all. Tonight I figure out some name for characters, some people to kill off quickly, and an ending that will be a little on the twisted side, because why write if you cannot be twisted?

Another week ends, another mowing session is done. Monday lies in wait for all of us now.

Take Care,


  1. Bert said, So this is our new home, I can dig it.

    1. And it didn't take very long, either.