Sunday, August 3, 2008

FIELD NOTES: Ill-will came upon me like a sneeze...

First weekend of August, 2008 rite of ownership reacting to a perceived irritation and briefly closing my eyes to the rite of nature. The mower rolled up the bank by the side of the driveway and I let it roll back over a small gray movement. I had once seen my father stomp on a mole that had percolated up from the earth where we were extracting some woody overgrown yews. My mother and I had winced and screamed while my father asked if I liked the mole tunnels heaving up my lawn. Well, no, but I didn’t have the World War II navy training that conditioned my dad to weigh in a split-second the future consequences of his current actions. So with that in the back of my mind, I now let the mower roll back over the small gray movement. I had once accidentally mowed over a garter snake with bad timing, the result being instantly fatal and not at all pretty, so it surprised me that I would now seek out such an act. In horror I saw the small gray movement was not a mole at all, but a good little toad, eater of garden insects and the sign of a healthy habitat. I peered over the side of the mower as I saw him hopping away and tried to count his little limbs and fingers and toes. He appeared to have them all! I was grateful that I keep the mower blades high because I don’t believe in stressing the lawn with buzz cuts and I was relieved that the most damage I had done that day was to scare the heck out of a toad…and probably make him a little deaf.

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