Mixed Blessings

In between these late summer rains,
I am mowing the yard again,
resenting the ridiculously thick and lush grass,
yet grateful as I pass the wildly growing hedge
that we set out along the edge of the yard
in last summer’s burning heat.

The yellow and green of fresh growth
on the privet bushes
has already half-filled the gaps
between the plants set a bit too wide
for a quick screen to replace the wooden fence
that burned a year ago in March
when a wild hare wind ripped a wire loose,
sending sparks arcing to the tinderbox grass
fifteen feet below the transformer.

It caught our deck on fire,
singed the edges of a few low boards of cedar siding,
destroyed one neighbor’s storage sheds
and damaged four other fences
before the firemen could get here
and root the fire out of its hiding in the joists below the decking.

And here I am,
fifteen months later,
mowing in the dark,
hoping I don’t leave too many long marks
of standing grass to amuse the neighbors
in tomorrow’s passing light.
(Braille might work fine for reading
but there’d be too much bleeding involved
to make it much of a method for mowing.)

In a normal year,
this yard would have worn a light brown crust
by the first of August.

Instead, I’ve got these clogging clumps of watergrass
making me stop every few feet
in this same spot where I just mowed three days ago.

But we had a month of good sweet corn,
six weeks of homemade salsa,
and the tomatoes are still ripening like crazy,
the green beans are setting on strong and solid,
and I’ve got some banana peppers that will set your lips on fire.

I keep thinking that the sweet potato vines
that have taken over half the garden and a corner of the patio
will eventually bloom
and there will be even more fruit
formed amidst the unseen roots
fed by this season of unseasonal rains.

H. Arnett

About Doc Arnett

Native of southwestern Kentucky currently living in Ark City, Kansas, with my wife of twenty-nine years, Randa. We have, between us, eight children and twenty-eight grandkids. We enjoy singing, worship, remodeling and travel.
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