I look a lot happier in this photo than I really am. Smiling at a camera is an ingrained reflex, even when I’m tired, dirty, covered with burrs, and wondering “Why the hell did we ever decide to live on five country acres?” Most of the time I love our land. That time excludes the four hours or so a year it takes me to mow down areas of tall grass with my trusty DR Field and Brush Mower, which I like a lot.
What I don’t like is wrestling the mower around to miss the umpteen jillion (approximately) small trees Laurel has planted in almost every corner of the property. In my darker moments, which arise with disturbing regularity about a sweat-soaked hour and a half into a field mowing session, after I’ve maneuvered the mower past a good share of the umpteen jillion trees, I want to clear-cut the damn things.
Fortunately, my love for Laurel (and my desire to avoid another divorce, or at least a big lump on my head) is stronger than my distaste at having to mow around all those trees. Plus, there are a few areas where Laurel hasn’t placed her shovel, which give me a respite from my scorched-tree fantasies.
The field in the photo is one of these exceptions, a blessedly unplanted patch where the only obstacles to mowing nirvana are (1) the tough tufts of grass over which the mower bumps and grinds in a decidedly non-erotic fashion, and (2) the many field mice who run pell-mell from me and my weapon of mass field mouse dispersion. I thought of saying “destruction,” but that is a likelihood that my compassionate vegetarian mind prefers not to contemplate.
I like to delude myself into thinking that as I guide the mower in ever-decreasing circles in this field, and more and more mice run out of the uncut grass with every pass, that every single one of them has escaped safe and sound, and soon will be returning to their cozy little mice homes saying “Oh, look, our view is so much better now with all that grass gone. Thank you, thank you, thank you, O Field Mouse God, for once again you have heard our prayers and sent that noisy instrument of your compassionate will.”
That’s a nice thought. I think I’ll stick with it. Sometimes reality needs a bit of touching-up to make it appear to my liking. Tomorrow I'll make some other mice happy by sprucing up their neighborhood.