McKibbin’s Scribblin’s: Getting my summer mojo on
It’s starting to feel a lot like summer, don’t you think? Not sure I’m really ready for months of hot, dry heat, but I am a Colorado native. Guess I should be used to it.
It was pretty hot and windy last Sunday, as I crouched for a couple of hours to pull weeds that had taken over my backyard rock garden in the last month or so.
I’m not sure “rock garden” is an accurate description. After I bought my house in Rifle several years ago, one of the first things I did was rototill a large part of the backyard that was totally overrun by weeds.
The last homeowner wasn’t too keen on keeping things up, I can tell you. So I put down three tons of river rock and planted a few crab apple trees (only one survived, and that one has branches on the north side but not on the south side. Go figure.)
I usually spray the weeds when they start getting noticeable, but all the rain we had in April, then I was out of town for Mother’s Day in May, allowed them to take over.
They weren’t the only thing that took off. My grass got so long, my push reel lawn mower couldn’t cut it very easily. So I got a real workout one weekend just tackling that job. And to make matters tougher, the handle on the mower snapped in two.
Two replacement part orders later, I’m ready to mow again. But it will be another workout, I’m sure.
I’ve never minded working in the yard. In fact, that’s how I earned enough money to put myself through college. I mowed parks in the summer and lived in my parents’ house. (Rent free, which was the key to saving enough to go back to college. Thanks, mom and dad.)
There’s something fulfilling cutting grass, trimming trees – yes, pulling weeds – that puts me in a good frame of mind. Usually tired, but a good frame of mind. They say physical activity is important for things like moods and a lot of other things, not just the exercise part of it.
But it’s being outside, working with other living things, getting dirty and sweaty, that makes me the most happy at the end of the day.
Needless to say, I don’t get much of that during the week. Sitting for hours in front of a computer, talking to people on the phone is most of what I do. Not that I dislike it at all. I’m doing what I love best and what I think I do best.
But I miss the daily connections with the earth, the trees, listening to the birds, yelling at the dogs to shut up, too. My cat spends some of the time with me, sniffing around and getting into mischief. But he’s outside, too, living it up in cat terms.
I wish I could find time to do some hiking in the summer, something I did a lot of each weekend before I became a homeowner. Funny how it changes your priorities.
We’re lucky to be living in a country where I can spend my weekends pulling weeds and cutting grass, so to the men and women who make that possible, thank you.
And we’re lucky to be living in a state where before I know it, I’ll be bundling up in heavy clothes and shoveling snow.
Which, come to think of, is a pretty good way to spend some time, too.
Counting my blessings, don’t you know.
Mike McKibbin is the editor of The Citizen Telegram.
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