The eulogy at my funeral?which will take place in early September 2063 according to deathclock.com?will most certainly include this sentence: ?For someone who disliked yard work so much, he sure did a lot of it.?
When wife Hanna and I bought our house out here on North Adams last fall, the yard maintenance season was winding down, so we didn?t get the full experience of keeping up the exterior appearances.
But now that we?ve gone through a whole spring and are launching into summer, I?ve realized two things:
First, trees are incredibly messy. At first I was surprised simply by the amount of seeds the maple tree in the front yard could drop in a day. One windy morning it looked as if it was snowing helicopters, and by that evening I was using the snow shovel to scoop them off my driveway.
It?s embarrassing but true.
But while the maple tree up front was distracting me, the tree in the backyard was ramping up for a real blitz?krieg of botanical by-product.
I don?t know what kind it is, but this tree has literally been dropping something since it got warm enough for photosynthesis.
Judging by its size, I?d say the tree is from the Paleozoic Era. It?s been struck by lightning at least once, which may account for its tendency to lose things, and it doesn?t really have leaves, but tiny fronds?like you?d see in plant fossils?the leftovers from last year of which began dropping early this spring.
Once that was done and I got all the tiny leaves and needles swept off the deck, it began sprinkling down bright green crumbs, which apparently contained seeds because I now have a whole baby forest of seedlings sprouting in the pebble pathway.
That was followed last week by the sloughing of green frills, which look very similar to a dismembered feather boa, though there are no showgirls in sight.
While we were being assaulted from above, an incursion was building up from below, which leads me to the second realization: Our backyard is gaining square footage by the minute.
I?ve been told that in the early days of Hillsboro, the portion of town that we live on was actually a farmstead, so city roads were constructed around it. This resulted?once the real estate was later divvied up?in double-lots, one of which Hanna and I unwittingly acquired when we bought the house.
At that time, the yard simply went another several meters back than normal. But after mowing last weekend, I?ve determined our backyard now reaches into the western portion of Missouri.
I?m not a complete dunce: I did purchase a riding mower from the previous owners when we moved in. The problem is, I have yet to get it to start. I suspect it has less to do with the mower and more to do with me, since I?m the unhandyman who uses a snow shovel to clear helicopter seeds.
But I will not be deterred from my duties of picking up after the tree that is literally clinging to life and limb; and mowing the yard, which by this weekend will likely be in Tennessee.
That?s OK. I?ve always wanted to visit Nashville.