Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Here Comes the Sunburn



The first warm day, I mean truly warm, that first day after a long and cold winter, well, there’s really nothing like it. You put on a pair of shorts that have been stuffed in the bottom of a draw since early October. Maybe even go barefoot to grab the paper from the bottom of the driveway. That slight crack from windows that have been sealed for months, rolled down to let fresh air back into your house. The smell of honeysuckle blooming along the fence. The warm cup of coffee you sip outside on a cool morning that promises to heat up as the day goes on. That’s the day I live for. That first warm day of the year with the promise of more to follow.

It’s also when I can take my dog for walks. Of course, I could do that in the winter, but neither of us wants that. She’s over fifteen now, half blind and just as deaf. Her life now is spent submerged in a blurry world, muffled, and full of obstacles that were just simple steps before. Winters are spent sleeping by the fire. But that changes with the evitable switch from snow blower to lawnmower.

And while she is only slightly more active, I on the other hand relish working in the yard. Well, maybe enjoy is a better word. Most men that I know don’t mow their own yards. They don’t even have their kids do it. The first cut of the season brings a fragrance back into your head as my shoes acquire a soft green patina, a quiet residue from the wet grass. I used to mind mowing, but now I enjoy the time. It has becomes a Zen-like exercise. The steady pace, weaving back and forth in a 21 inch wide self made labyrinth. I guess it might not be environmentally prudent to still use a gas mower. However, the drone of the engine allows me to separate from the rest of the world for forty minutes.

Speaking of droning, wearing headphones while I mow, I get the chance to sing somewhere other than the shower. I was once described as a very gentle singer, refusing to hit a note. At one point I was embarrassed if anyone heard me, but not anymore. It’s not that I got any better. I just don’t give a crap. In years past I would stop whenever the mower did. But the way I figure it if I have to listen to one neighbor’s dog constantly barking, or the other’s kids screaming, or the old lady that lives behind me yelling at her husband then they can listen to me imitating a cat in a meat grinder. With songs like “Please, Please, Stop”, “I Have A Burning In My Ears”, and  “Take Me To The River And Throw Me In” how can I go wrong?

And then there’s the cars, motorcycles, construction trucks, lawn service trucks, delivery trucks, garbage trucks, trucks pulling other trucks. Have they been there all along or is it just the fact they saw me opening the windows? I’d like to shoot the guy who invented the leaf blower. He’s probably the one working out at the gym. You know raking is an aerobic exercise too, pal.

Don’t get me started on the kids off from school, outside in their yards, playing no less. When I was their age, I spent summers avoiding my parents like any other depressed kid from a dysfunctional family. Kids today are too damn happy if you ask me.
I can’t wait until the little noise makers are back in school. When the brisk air of autumn fills the air and the windows close with a ‘shunk’. When the last leaf is raked and carted off. When my sinus cavities are free of pollen. When the mosquito’s life cycle has ended and my poison ivy stops itching. That’s the day I really live for. I can’t wait for winter.


Piece from my new chapter book. Here is a scene where some mice feel threatened from burrowing owl.