As far as Summers have come and gone, this one is going down as the wettest I can remember. It’s rained every day this month, or pretty close to it, and the grass has been growing at a rate that rivals kudzu or some alien species of plant that will devour the world. It’s rained twice today already, pouring down hard, then stopping for a half hour or so, then pounding down once again, and now, for the time being, it’s not raining. This isn’t rare for Summer in South Georgia, but it is uncommon for the rain to be so damn constant and so heavy.
The back acre, the wooded part of my property is wrecked with fallen trees and broken branches. The rain is devoured by the trees to the point the limbs cannot hold them, or the roots which stabilize the trees cannot hold the trees up anymore, and so they have fallen, this way and that way, knocking down more limbs and smaller trees. I’ve lost some of my larger trees this Summer, and really, this has to stop. If we ever have any cold weather again I will have one hell of a bonfire to burn. It will take the better part of what’s left of the Summer to get all the debris off the ground.
None of this addresses the issue in the yard. The last time I mowed was well over a week ago and the yard looks like the legs of a single Canadian woman who decided to stop shaving until Spring. I’m not sure that is really true or not, but at the same time, if I lived someone very cold and I was sleeping with anyone, I would let my hair grow as wild as it wanted. The yard looks like this now. I cannot forgo mowing for another day.
The sun is out, kinda, but mostly the heat is wrapped up in the humidity. I start sweating as I walk out the door. The air is heavy, moist, and visible. It’s not like smoke or fog, but a sort of a light haze that keeps heat trapped close to the ground. The mower churns out the smell of decapitated grass, and that smell is also part of the layer of the New Atmosphere that has taken over with the grass. It’s as if I am landscaping an alien world, I tell you.
It’s not just grass, either. All sorts of wild plants have invaded in the last ten days and some of them are quite long and quite tall. The harsh thorny vines that like to kill young Oaks have burst out of the ground as if they see the lack of mowing as a weakness and I am ripe to be overthrown. They’ve charged headlong out of the woods and from secret hiding places to do battle with me, and my mower. Heedless heathens are they, war drunk with the idea of battle, and they’ve formed barricades near the fence. They form stout resistance and the going is slow, very slow, and I have to admire their defenses. I push the mower forward, pull it back, and then push it forward again in an area where the plants have formed their greatest efforts against me. The humidity feeds them, weakens me, and suddenly I realize they have air support and I do not.
Many years ago, when I ran, and ran often and ran fast, I loved the humidity. It was that thing that separated the dedicated from the weak. Miles and miles disappeared under my feet and the heat, the humidity, and the distance was nothing at all. Now the thick carpet of wild weeds and grass challenge me to stay and fight. It’s an affront, it is, and I feel justified in the mass amputation and listen for their screams above the din of the mower’s engine.
I stop to refuel and realize I’m racing against the next series of rain clouds. Reinforcements are on the way, it seems, and the grass will get resupplied with water even as it dies fighting. This is truly as endless and it is mindless and the despair of trying to make progress in the middle of the Monsoon Season is beginning to wear me down.
The wind picks up a bit but it does very little to lessen the misery of the humidity. It’s an overwhelming blanket of wetness that sticks to the clothes and to the skin. There is no cooling from sweat that is being blown by airborne moisture. Sweat pours down my skin, desperately seeking some sort of airborne release but there is none. Rivulets turn into creeks, which turn into rivers, and suddenly I am awash in a saltwater sea of my own making. I can feel the water running down my legs, my back, and into my shoes. My hat traps the stuff and it runs down my face and into my eyes. All of this because the relative humidity is somewhere around eleventy billion percent.
Still, as in any endeavor where there is persistence as well as perspiration, there is progress. Time passes and the roar of the engine drowns out the rest of the world and with my earplugs in I zone out and Zen in. Plots of stories come and go as the dead bodies of my enemies are flung from the chute of the mower. The clouds gather, the sun is eclipsed, yet the area that demands mowing lest my truck disappear into the greenery shrinks. I work my way back towards the gate between the front and back yards, heading back towards the fuel container and suddenly I realize that I am nearly done. The first drops of rain hit like tiny pieces of ice in their coolness and I have to scamper to get the mower into the shed before the rain begins to come down in a flood.
The yard has been mowed once again, and the rain has returned.