Because one of my friends had posted a video of America's favorite bearded fundamentalist spewing hatred and it got me seventeen different kinds of het up. I was het up at the fundamentalist, het up at the folks that think he is awesome at anything other than running a successful corporate empire, het up at a country that fosters such meanness and wraps it up in religiosity, and fourteen other kinds of het-uppedness at which you can probably guess. I won't post a link to the video, because I don't think this guy needs any more publicity, but if you really want to, you can go stare at one of his bobble-heads at Hellmart for a few minutes. It would make about as much sense.
Anyway, I decided to remove myself from Facebook for the day and go about my business, which involved a cup of hot tea and weeding the garden. However, when I got outside, I realized two things. A: it was raining; not pouring down rain, but the rain referred to as "pissing," when there's really nothing on the radar, but everything is still dampened by the stuff whizzing around in the air that is wet. This lead to my second realization, which was that B: I was too angry because of Phil's ugliness and the pissing rain to finagle with the itty bitty weeds and shoots in my water-logged garden.
"Right," I said with Hugh Grant grimness, and I marched across the yard.
We live on an acre of land in a fairly large subdivision which is pretty much straight in the country. The front part of our backyard is azalea beds and patio and my kitchen garden, but the back consists of what I refer to as The Shed of Horror, Will's fire-pit area, the kid's play area, and a shadowy wedge of space that could, up until about thirty minutes ago, only be called "dank."
Part of the space is a randomly fenced and gated area that a long ago jasmine vine decided it really needed to take over. Inside the gate is a sloped concrete slab. We assume that somebody once had a boat or dogs or possibly a smallish dragon that sat upon the slab. Outside of the gated area is a tree that developed an awful lean during an ice storm several years ago and that has been taken over by the jasmine, a climbing rose, and some sort of tea olive which we always refer to as The Medusa-like Monstrosity because that's what the Southern Living Gardening Book called it. The whole atmosphere is one of neglect and mildew and "Hey, copperheads and rattlesnakes and brown widows! Come live here."
Here's a picture of the slab area. Forgive the crappy cellphone pic, but I wasn't taking Audrey (my D610) out in the rain.
Here's another view, where you can see the gigantic, tree-sized limb that fell off of the oak tree that has been shedding limbs since we moved and which is finally (to my relief, frankly) just a trunk that I hope will quietly rot where it stands. The huge limb has been caught right in the crotch by a smaller tree that I am depending on staying strong. Stay strong, little tree.
After subduing the leaning tree, trimming off a few of Medusa's snakes, and getting the jasmine on the outside in some sort of order, I moved into the gated area. Lop, lop, whack, whack, tug, tug. It was all pretty intense.
So intense that I broke my garden rake.
I said words that ought not to be said in mixed company.
Frodo took that as his cue to hide under the play fort, away from the rain and his het-up mom.
After a few minutes spent fuming, I got back to work.
I have to be honest: there were some times when I started to chuck in my plastic blue rake and give up. But every time my sodden, out of shape body started complaining, my mind presented me with the audio of Phil Robertson's hateful twang and I got right back to work. When I was worried that the copperheads, rattlesnakes, and brown widows would come out and bite me, I channeled an image of that bigot's beard and I gleefully kicked half-rotted logs out of my way.
Once when I did that, I found this guy, the only creepy-crawly I discovered. At first I thought he was a black salamander that took a wrong turn in Albuquerque, but I've since decided he is a slimy salamander.
After finding Albert (that is the salamander, in case you couldn't connect the dots), I realized that my anger and a couple of decades of detritus had both been swept away.
In a matter of a couple of hours, I managed to put together this pile of stuff:
(That's River's rake there, for size reference.)
I was left with this:
Obviously, there's still a lot of work to do, but I think I've decided that I want to turn this little area into a sort of outdoor ladies' parlor, where I can chill out with a good book and/or friends and a delightful beverage or two. I think, in fact, that I will invent a cocktail and name it after Phil Robertson.
And every time I enjoy said cocktail, I will raise my glass and say, "Cheers to you, Phil Robertson, and your tiny little black heart."
Blackberry mojitos, anyone?