Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Master Of My Domain ...

My backyard is a metaphor.

There's nothing like having a party on the horizon to kick my keister into gear. There's always plenty to do around the house, but knowing that people are coming over makes me tackle the to-do list. I love making places that bring me joy.

So after power-washing the deck again and power-washing the house and putting down that funky grass-seed-and-fertlizer stuff that looks like cellulose insulation, I started pulling weeds. I have a big backyard. Things grow. Some things had gotten out of control. I worked my way around the yard, clearing weeds and small trees, hauling the debris out to the curb for tomorrow's pick-up.

But part of the yard remained. The south part of my yard against the fence. Ugh. It was overgrown with plants I can't even identify. Vines, trees, weeds, though mom points out that there are no weeds in nature. They're all plants. We're the ones who deem some plants worthy and others un.

I thought I'd get out the handheld pruners and trim a few things. Snip, snip. I started a pile of prunings on the lawn. The pile grew. The more I pruned, the more determined I became. The fence was back there somewhere. The mass of green looked formidable. But as I cut plants away, I realized that the vines had woven themselves into a mesh over the trees. The actual brush to be cut away was much less than it seemed. For a moment, I felt bad, slicing into the trunks of trees, ripping vines off the fence, piling all the cuttings on my lawn. But then I thought, "They're just in the wrong place."

Some of the trees required more than my pruners, so I got out a saw. There was one particularly gnarled stem that had been the host for many now-felled branches. Mini-trees. It seemed large and well-rooted. I thought the best I could do would be to saw it close to the ground. I pushed it to the side, to position the saw as close to the base as possible. To my surprise, I was able to push it almost all the way over. I pulled and the roots came free. They were surprisingly shallow.

Other trunks, stems, whatever they should be called at that size, needed to be sawed off. I detest bugs and God only knows what was living in the weeds I was stepping into, but I didn't care. I was much more focused on the clearing. My hands were getting sore. I was breathing heavily. And I felt great.

The pile got bigger than I had planned on. I bundled it with twine in many places and dragged it out to the curb. I returned to the yard and surveyed the empty space smugly.

When I set my mind to something, I can accomplish even more than I originally expect of myself.

These pictures are part of my yard. Ah, nature.


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