Tag Archiv: therapy

Thistles

Thistles, by Shibata Zeshuin (1808-1891). Compliments of thefamousartists.com

Thistles, by Shibata Zeshuin (1808-1891). Compliments of thefamousartists.com

Lawn mowers are my life long love affair. The roaring drone of the engine is ironically all about quiet. Sometimes I sing, or not. What I never do is hear who did what to whom, or what anyone needs, wants, or is looking for.  My lawn mower is a portable combination church, library, nature sanctuary, divine telephone line and therapist all rolled into one.

Before this summer, I mowed the fields when the lawn wasn’t big enough. Sincere men tried to explain that this was not what the ride on mower was designed for.  They were missing the point. Twice we had to have the blades replaces half way through the summer. The fix it man could not understand how a lawn could be so hard on a mower. But it wasn’t the lawn. I was traversing a field/pasture/premier breeding ground for frogs, snakes, praying mantises and mice, and swerving accordingly for any sighting of small life. The whole farm sits a few inches above bedrock. What can I say? Sometimes it sticks up.

This year we have bush hog, “to do the fields properly.” This is a mostly blessing. But the bush hog has to be officially hooked up in some kind of grand manner and then grandly unhooked and parked just so in order to fit everything in the barn. The bush hog cannot be summoned because I feel the yearning to mow rising to fever pitch. The current lawn mower is slower, coughs, squeals, and after it’s years of service, mows drunkenly uneven swaths . . . but it does not require advance notice to use it. The old girl still gets a go at the open spaces if no one is looking when the lawn is not big enough by half.

Farms can fill you with joy and overwhelm you with discouragement. It was a day of the latter a few weeks ago. Bee hives were not thriving. Ditto for apple trees. Ewe #3 did not get pregnant this year. Small but promising garden was demolished by a hurricane of cows. (When they couldn’t reach to eat any more off the tops of the tomato plants, they knocked down the fence and ate everything except the weeds to the ground.)

I finished the lawn and finished the apple/bee yard. It wasn’t enough so I started in on part of field covered in thistles. Ruining our beautiful, previously pristine field, thistles. I imagined the farm in a few more years. No bees, dead apple trees, and the pasture an unwalkable sanctuary of thistles. We would have to name our farm Thistledown.

I began mowing a hopeless protest through the four foot high sea of thistle. After four or five passes, I stopped for a honey bee. I looked closer and laughed. Honey bees were everywhere, inches apart from each other, buzzing in and out of endless thistle flowers. For the bees, the thistles were a paradise of flowers a short flight from home. The kind of thing a beekeeper would plant on purpose to help them.

I stopped mowing, happy. The thistle looked beautiful. It could stay, even multiply. Grace tickled my heart asking what other thistle things of my knowing might be secretly brimming with the stuff of honey.

Spring turtles and old age planning

The pond in it's overflowing spring glory of three time the usual size.

The pond in it’s overflowing spring glory of three time the usual size. Note tiny rock a third of the way in just in front of the fence.

 

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The mad happiness of spring on same tiny rock

 

 

This is the turtle’s favorite part of the pond and therefore mine. I cannot get past my love affair with turtles.  Do you know what turtles do? Absolutely nothing spectacular. They are slow (except in the water), shy, and unimpressed by humans. Despite a rather staggering record of survival success (they are some of the oldest reptiles – 220 million years and counting by some estimates) they are unphased by their accomplishments. One would be hard pressed to describe turtles as self confident. Were we to find a way to communicate it is almost certain we would find them somewhat withdrawn and anxiety ridden. And yet oddly confident too. Who else walks across the fields past cows, dogs and sheep whenever they feel like it with their only defense strategy being to curl up and wait it out if the dog is curious?  We’ve got metaphors for quiet people involving turtle body parts, yet to my knowledge not a single turtle has ever sought therapy in search of tools to help them leave their shell. They keep it handy and use as they see fit . . . dog boredom device, solar panel, party dress.

I’ve said this before. When my grandchildren are born I’ll still be saying it. When my great grandchildren come visit me and sit arguing in front of me about what it is I’m actually trying to say and if it proves my attachment or disassociation with reality, I’ll be on the patio pointing at a turtle.

They always get to where their going. It’s just not fast, I’ll say.

Does Grandma think it’s time to go?

Did she say fast? What if she’s going on a hunger strike or something?

That’s not what she said, another will say.

But that’s what she meant. I’m calling mom.

At this point I will take my cane and strike his/her mobile device to the ground, whereupon I will totter over to it. Unable to crush it with my bedroom slipper, I will content myself to sit down on it and refuse to move.

The more high strung among them will go to fetch a nurse and possibly a tranquilizer.

To any who remain, I’ll point again at the turtle, who by this time will be four feet away and almost to the top of a rock.

They always get where they’re going, I’ll say. It’s just not fast. One step at a time.

If anyone gets it, I’ll get up off the cell phone and totter into my room. I’ll get some of my wooden turtles off the shelf and give one to whoever’s there with instructions to put it out where they can see it.

One step at a time, I’ll say. They get to where they’re going.