Jul 2, 2006


So many ways that can be taken, but I'll tell the truth of it.

I was driven inside a few minutes ago. By rain, of all things.

See, it's summer here in Louisiana now; no holds-barred, no prisoners taken, no plant too large to be broiled alive summer. Humidity ranging always in the low 70s up to the 90s with regularity, and rain is a thing of my childhood long past. Global warming is getting us first, right here in central LA, specifically in my dying St. Augustine grass and in the struggling garden and all over our sweaty brows.

We're celebrating the 4th in usual fashion this year with one nice twist--a house-warming for friends at their newly-purchased first honest-to-gawd house, and then back here for BBQ and fireworks and sweating like pigs because it's 9pm and it's still 95 degrees out. We always gather here since we're out of the city limits and because we have so much open space to explode things in, and because in the city it's about five degrees hotter.

So naturally, now is the time to prepare for guests. Keep in mind that I'm not much of a man (by the light of day...) By that I mean that I'm not centered on sports, hunting, fishing and beer. I have shades of all that, as well as the requisite plumbing, but I've never been a Keep Up With The Jones' sort of guy. Except for my yard.

I like my yard. I take a lot of pride in my yard and my flowerbeds and most especially my roses. I like my yard presentable. I like it clean, neat, tidy, and cut. Not short cut, no golf-course greens for me, but cut nonetheless, two inches or so tall, so that it's presentable, neat, and soft. Especially when we're having family over. So I took it upon myself today to go out and start gathering up all the little cut limblets and short branches that I spent most of my last day off work cutting down. The final intention was to get all these little bits and pieces up out of the Back backyard* and onto the new and improved (read: hidden) new burnpile so that I could run the mower around the backyard and the Back backyard and get it all reined in for the 4th.

Does halfsies count? I got most of the limbs up, enjoying the light breeze that had picked up out of nowhere, and watching with the corner of half an eye the dark clouds rolling along the edges of the fields. I had just dumped my third trailer-load when a few drops spattered the dust on the hood of the lawn tractor. I glanced back up to see a veritable Biblical Flood-worth of animals fleeing the imminent downpour. Birds flying in huge groups, dragonflies crashing into each other in their haste to get away from the storm front, and even frogs reaching for their umbrellas. They teach us southern boys in school how to read the elements (I always thought they were saying "elephants," so I'm pretty good at telling if a pachyderm is going to rain or not) and from what I was gathering from the terrified little critters of nature it was gonna be a bad one.

I made fast flight to my mother's metal carpark thing, one of those two-car arrangements that's just aluminum and some roofing, and thought I could sit there for the five minutes it was going to take for this squall to sort itself out.


I sat there on my quickly-cooling lawn tractor for ten minutes before I started seeing the first signs of water puddling in the low areas, and decided that discretion being the better part of valor I should go ahead and discretely sneak back to the house before I drowned. It's come, you see, a gullywasher. A frog strangler. In short, it's raining like a blind cow pissing on a flat rock.

Me? I know we need it, I'm glad of it's arrival. It crimps my plans, but not badly, and I know the garden is drinking it up like, well, like a really dry garden getting rain. I think the next step is for me to go find a pipe, light up a bowl, and sit on the patio to watch it storm, listen to the thunder roll across the cotton fields, watch the lightning fork in and out of the pecan trees with which I am so heavily blessed(?) and wait it out.

Sounds like a plan to me. *S*
*I've got three backyards, you see. I've got the backyard which runs 50 or so feet from the back wall of the house. That's the Backyard Proper, home to rosebeds, my shop, pecan trees, and several Toad Manorhouses. Then I've got the old cow pasture behind that, which now houses more pecan trees (my father loved pecans, as well as inheriting several 100+ year old models,) the willow trees, my Mom's house trailer, the garden, and a lot of grass that with love and tender care has become as thick and smooth and pretty as my other yards, so it's the Back bacykard. Then there's the 7 or so acres behind THAT, working our way towards the bayou. That's the Back 40 (it honestly IS 40 acres, if you count all my family's property back there betwixt the Back backyard and the bayou) and my little 7 acres is mostly wild grass and some young oak trees and lots of crepe myrtles and a few pines, but it's getting there, too. I hope that by the time my daughter is old enough to build a house she'll have a gorgeous, huge lot full of big oak and longleaf pine trees on which to settle down. Either that or I'm going to spend the rest of my freaking LIFE cutting grass.

Things could be worse.

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