bunt sign

Wednesday, January 16, 2002

Mother Nature dropped a little spring into my winter today. I'd like to thank her for it, but I'm afraid she'll realize her mistake and take it back. Then what — six more weeks of December?

It wasn't a perfect day. We didn't get any rain (for the tenth day in a row, and how then do I still have mud puddles in my driveway?), but that cold wind blew through this morning. By this afternoon, though, the sun had warmed up the air, and the wind had almost stopped. I even had the door open while I worked. I put out some extra wild bird food in the garden and looked up every so often to watch the sparrows.

The birds, by the way, are a little annoyed with me. Oh, sure, they're grateful for the nutritious millet and sunflower seeds I left for them, but they kept walking around the rims of the birdbaths and looking to see where the water was. There was still a little left from the last rain (ten days ago, yay!), but it was nearly gone. Besides, I hadn't bothered to clean the leaves out of the bowls. Every so often a bird would dip a toe in the shallow water, then perch back on the edge again in disgust. I'll have to take care of that tomorrow (if it doesn't rain).

As nice as it was, the sunny day still shouldn't have tempted me away from my desk. I have Important Things to Do, you know. But I kept walking out to feel the sun on my skin, and on one of those trips I noticed a clump of decorative grass that had up and died on me. It wasn't a pretty sight, and I've noticed that real gardeners (the kind that get paid to manicure the grounds at the gated apartment complex and have "Landscape Maintenance" painted on the sides of their trucks) have pulled out a lot of dead stuff this winter.

So, when three o'clock arrived and I couldn't stand to sit inside any more, I took myself out to the garden and started hacking away at that dead bush. It wasn't as if it was all that attractive when it was alive, after all. And I remember spending afternoons last summer yanking out clumps of that same grass from between the paving stones, where it had decided to grow all on its own. So it's obviously not endangered vegetation. Today it was just the weakest link, an excuse for me to strap on the cowhide gloves and play in the dirt.

Maybe I shouldn't have taken the time. Maybe I shouldn't stop working, ever, if there's more left to do. This time I just couldn't help myself. Anyway, we might not get another day this nice before April. (If that's true, I won't make it to April.)

I couldn't work long anyway, for a couple of reasons. For one, it got cold quickly as the sun started to set. Even at its warmest, it was only warm in the direct sun. If you stepped into the shade you'd wish you had your mackinaw. Beyond that, I'm really out of shape. This was the most I've done since last fall, I think, and I'm feeling it tonight. I'm not used to working those muscles, or any muscles for that matter.

dead bush

This dead bush? Gone.

The job isn't finished by any means. It doesn't even look better yet. It looks more the way it would if my manic mole invited his crazy cousins over to plow up my yard a little faster than he could do it alone. So there's plenty more to do, if I get another chance. I haven't even cut up the Christmas tree yet; it's still leaning against the back porch (still green, too). But with what I did today, I at least have a reason to haul the yard waste container to the curb tomorrow night.

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Latest recommendation:

Colleen, In Plain Site, January 16, Cap and Gown

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One year ago: Changed Conditions Ahead
"Stuff I thought was long gone kept coming back, like gophers in an arcade game."

Two years ago: June in January
"I have no objective except to show up and go along, so it won't be hard to satisfy me."

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But all the while I was alone, the past was close behind.