At breakfast over tea, I glance out into the backyard and notice there are some weeds that have emerged from the ground.
Finishing my meal, quickly, I go to the backyard to remove these.
Mid morning. Sun rising higher in the sky. The heat of the day coming on.
Six months from now, it will be snow and ice that will need to be shoveled from the driveway and sidewalk on the northern edge of our lot.
Pulling the weeds, the red ants scamper away from my activity in every direction.
Clear blue sky. Silence. No breeze. The small birds are not flying now. The jack rabbits have returned to their burrows. The lizards are nowhere to be found.
The yard is a desert in microcosm. Yet, there are those who put grass in their yards. This seems to me, here in the high desert, so – unnatural.
Moving across the yard and pulling weeds. No thoughts. Just doing. Clear mind.
The dirt, the piles of rocks, the weeds.
The heat of the sun on my hat and back.
I am part of the environment now. As all around me is, too.
Some of the weeds have thick and long roots, surprising given how quickly they have come up out of the ground. Heavy thunder showers two weeks ago have brought this about.
Coming back into the garage and depositing my basket of weeds into the trash can, I think it must have been very tough for those soldiers marching in the South Africa bush during the Boer Wars.
A strangely colored mantis has come into the garage with me, likely on my clothes. I tried shaking him off on one of the rock piles. (It was of a yellowish-pink color, blending in with some of the very numerous rocks in the yard.) Noticing it as I am changing shoes, just about to go into the house, it presents a challenge. Not wishing to simply crush the insect, I have to herd him out the length of the garage and let him out by a manual door.
We even do this with various spiders that get into the house. Trap them underneath a cup or glass, slide some thin cardboard under the glass, and then take them out of the house. Keeps the carpet clean.
But, peaceful coexistence is not possible with the black widows or brown recluse spiders that are sometimes spinning their webs in the garage. Then, we have to crush (or smash) them to eliminate the risk to us humans.
What do I recall from Independence Day? As I could not sleep very well the night of July 3/4, I got up shortly after dawn, and to avoid the heat, weeded our rock garden front yard. Shortly before 6:00 a.m., a resident of the development who lives some blocks away came by walking his large dog. We talked for a short while in the full, early daylight. All the neighbors, because of the holiday, were still in bed. This man is an immigrant from England and has an engaging accent. He is a good chap.
Picking up leaves in the autumn (from the neighbor’s trees), shoveling snow and ice in the winter, and pulling weeds in the spring and summer – these are simple activities. When I do them, my mind either goes blank and takes a rest, or dredges up funny situations from my memory. People can never understand why in the midst of these activities I will some times chuckle or even burst out laughing. They should try it. Laughing is natural. Laughing is good. And, it is no sin.
Enjoy the moment. One does not have to be titillating the senses with all this electronic stimuli, to find contentment and inner peace.