Dirt Catharsis - Like a Golem.
The stand of poke-berry was taller than I am; I wish I'd taken a before-photo. We aren't ready for the after- yet; the area looks like we're midway through a Marine's first haircut.
I do yard-work only when the landlords aren't home. It's not like they'll rush out and stop me, but I'm preventing an unknown awkwardness which makes sense to my inner mind. Some weird balance is struck; so be it.
It took a year of living here before I was comfortable making moves against the foliage. At first I wasn't sure how many of the cars coming and going actually belonged to the household or who was in charge of what duties.
Since the kids moved out, and it's just Mr. and Mrs., I have a good sense of what gets done and why - time and mobility limits most likely apply. Also, I now get paid to feed their cat when they travel, which is often, so I feel at-home enough to make some decisions. Just not when they're home.
Karma is not universal; pulling weeds for challenged landlords does not equate to good luck with car repair, for example. Yard work is cathartic, though. It has short-term gratification as well as long-term; there's a decent enough element of risk if you forget to take your allergy meds, discover a wasp's nest, or drop the machete. If it's sunny like today, you get an added boost of Vitamin-D. You are likely not getting enough.
I love digging in the dirt, shaking loose the gravel, shaping feelings of ineffectiveness into something new and living, like a Golem. My efforts defend me from myself. Also, my inherent judg(e)mental nature is appeased: I get to choose who lives and what dies. I may have found poppies out there today - this is exciting. We can't be sure until next year.
Taking down a burgeoning copse of poke-berry has got to be a feat close to butchering a woolly mammoth: reach deep, make some calculated cuts, lug the guts into the cleared work space (in this case, driveway.) I marveled as I cut into a trunk of poke-berry dense as a tree; as I pulled it loose from the entangling branches and vines I found that it was a tree - walnut, maybe sumac. I took down random poke-stumps to ground level, and then pulled on a pesky teenage-size stalk which turned out to be one of my green zinnias. Oops. Clearly this project needed to wrap up for the day; I brought the zinnias into the cottage and put the cuttings in a vase.
I still didn't get the mail.
Update: They weren't poppies.
Lagniappe: here is a picture of my early-morning visitor, an Eastern Box Turtle. My brother kept one in our wading pool when we were kids. I wanted to take a picture of Turtle's funny walk, but he suspected my motives and refused to move if he could see me.
Poke Sallet is a thing, and it's not salad. Here you go.
Poke Salad Annie - Tony Joe White
I got no groove - I'm extremely, stereotypically White in that regard. True classic, though. Thank Hugh.
Today just turned into a Peter Gabriel afternoon. This is the most awesome video I've found for Solsbury Hill.