Distracted by Spring

Yesterday afternoon, while I was mowing the front lawn for the first time this year, the mail carrier brought me, among the hopeful requests for donations, a pair of gardening gloves from a charity I do support.  I took this as a sign from the Universe that my weekend was not going to be devoted to writing.

Every week I think to myself that I’ll have two days to catch up on writing and editing projects, and maybe even on reading.  Usually those plans get derailed pretty quickly.  Some weekends it’s just grocery shopping, laundry, maybe a chapter meeting or lunch with a friend, or something else I can’t do during the week.  This weekend it was the return of the growing season and the sad state of my front yard.  (We aren’t goint to talk about my back yard, which needs professional help, or possible a rent-a-teen with a heavy duty lawnmower.)

Yesterday morning was dreary, and I caught some light rain as I ran my usual Saturday errands.  But when I got home my lawn was still dry, a particularly important consideration when an electric mower is involved.  The rain held off until after I finished mowing, although I could hear thunder rumbling not too far in the distance before I was done.

My neighborhood caught a little more than an inch of needed rain last night, nothing to complain about compared to the several inches which fell in other parts of the Houston area, flooding streets and stranding cars.  By the time I went out to Weeds collect my newspaper this morning, the sun was out and the ground was no more than damp, so I pulled on my new gardening gloves and attacked the area between the driveway and the fence that I couldn’t mow yesterday because of all the weeds posing as saplings.  In an hour or so I had filled the driveway with vegetation and tattered whirligigs.

The whirligigs were a good part of my motivation for this particular job.  I can see them from my kitchen window, bright colors in the sunshine, spinning tails on windy days.  Jack never understood why I disliked the kitchen in our New Orleans apartment, many years ago when I was in grad school at Tulane.  It wasn’t the ancient refrigerator with the freezer compartment just big enough for two ice cube trays and half a pound of ground beef.  It wasn’t the fact that the tap water smelled of chlorine and the cats wouldn’t touch it until it had sat in a pitcher in the refrigerator for two days.  It was the lack of a window over the kitchen sink.

So before I bundled all those weeds up to the trash collector’s specifications, I replaced my birds.  I grew up in South Florida, land of the lawn flamingo, and I think my fondness for avian whirligigs is quite tasteful in Whirly Birdscomparison.  But the old ones were so faded and weather beaten that it was just as well they were half hidden by tall weeds and scraggly branches.  I had a new set in the garage, just waiting for the return of spring, and now I have my kitchen window view back, so much nicer than a bare fence.

Of course the return of spring and the growing season means the return of regular yard work, too.  I actually don’t mind mowing the lawn, particularly not with my cordless electric mower.  It’s not self-propelled–what a battery that would take–but it starts without an argument or a trip to the gas station.  But I’m going to look into some help for the rest of the work.  It’s likely to be a long, hot summer.


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