Native Son: MOWING THE GRASS
It’s a beautiful day in Texas.
Eighty-three degrees, eight-thirty am,
Wanted to be productive, but not get too dirty, amen.
I figured I’d mow the grass,
Probably just take just an hour
Because I’m a garden guy and I have a pretty good mower.
Down at the barn I discover,
A nest of wasps guards the door
And I knew from experience, undoubtedly, inside await more.
So I fetch the wasp spray.
And while I know wasps are good ecological,
Writhing around in pain just didn’t seem all that logical.
Six nests later, six battles I have won.
But there was one nest that I missed,
Under the hood of the mower, and, man, they were…miffed.
Well, life has its miracles,
And I got one this morning
Only got stung thrice; not too bad for no warning.
Eventually I dispatched the wasps,
In a liquid swordfight quite impressive.
And that white foam all over the barn did make the place look kinda festive.
Finally, I flip up the mower seat
So I can fill ‘er up with gas,
And discovered a big black widow ready to bite my big…posterior.
We played an inspired game
Of the classic hide-and-go-seek,
Which, thankfully, I finally won, and grinned cheek to cheek.
I fire up the engine,
And she starts up just right,
Which caused the copperhead underneath to immediately take flight.
So, another dilemma
Faces me here and now,
Do I hunt the venomous snake, or should I just mow?
I took a moment to ponder
This quandary none too lightly,
Figured maybe I’d just mow, ‘cause that snake, he just might bite me.
Put on my cool sunglasses,
A little sunscreen on my knees,
A cloud or two up in the sky, a light southwestern breeze.
I quickly lost myself
In the groove of the mowing
Beautiful countryside all around me, no matter which way I was going.
Earbud music blasting away,
Allman Brothers “Blue Sky,” just right,
When suddenly everything went blurry with my sight.
The blur that occurred
Was nothing wrong with my eyes,
It was just a tornado of angry bees that I surprised.
They landed upon me!
I swept them off my right arm
And dove left off the mower to avoid further harm.
I hit the kill switch
On my way to the ground
And landed square atop a big fire ant mound.
I screamed like a sissy
As I scrambled away quickly
Then ran into a greenbriar vine, and felt it distinctly
Slice neat cuts in my left arm
Which had somehow evaded
A thousand angry bees, but not thorns serrated.
My thighs began to burn,
And I knew it was now a race
To doff the shorts and do the dance to rid the ants from my personal space.
So I’m standing there
Buck naked, save my socks and shoes,
Hey, a battle with a million fire ants is one I just can’t afford to lose.
As I shake my shorts out
I’m feeling particularly tense
Because I’m being watched by a hundred cows just over the fence.
I finally get my bearings,
And can most distinctly hear
That boiling cloud of angry bees still buzzing my John Deere.
Assessing my damage,
Ignoring my arm as it bled,
A dozen ant stings to my leg; ten bee stings to the side of my head.
Went in and patched up my arm
Seven large band-aids…good to go,
Then returned to the battlefield after a half hour or so.
The swarming tempest had settled
The bees had returned to their hive
And I was truly grateful that I managed to survive.
I quietly pushed the mower away,
Then got back to mowing the grass
And nervously watch the swarm again rise each time I would pass.
Five hours from when I started,
Sprawled on a sofa that’s usually comfy,
My leg’s on fire, my arm still bleeds, my head’s unusually lumpy.
My wife walks in wearing a grin,
“I see you were on the mower,”
“It looks nice overall,” she says, “but could you take it one notch lower?”