09 Aug Weeds

It’s been months since I’ve attempted a blog post. Just haven’t felt up to it, as there’s no good news to share. It looks like Jill’s current medication has ceased working and we’re exhausted. Recently, she spent five days in the hospital with pneumonia. Her mind remains sharp, though she sometimes has trouble following the plot of a TV series. She’s uneasy on her feet, though she did manage to walk a bit with me last week while we picked blackberries. When the last of the berries disappear from the bushes, thanks to pickers of all sorts, birds mostly, you know summer is over. And how fast it goes!

A few bodacious storms have blown through of late with hellacious rains and tornado-force winds, taking down two of our trees, one of which was our best peach. Westminster, just north of us, lost a number of power lines, forcing the closure of many stores. BGE set up an emergency command post in the parking lot of the mall. Traffic was diverted for two days and so on. I ran our generator for nearly 24 hours, a first. Yes, we can live off the grid if we need to, except we don’t have a cellar full of rations, stored up for the coming zombie apocalypse.


Summer on the farm is all about gardening and landscaping, chores I won’t complete until fall. Every year I make small improvements, usually having to do with weed abatement, taming little corners of the land so that weeds will not overrun them. I find these small projects most gratifying, like freeing a butterfly from a spider’s web. Here’s the thing: you can’t be fatalistic about weeding. Of course, weeds keep coming back again and again but that doesn’t mean you should surrender and let them have their way. Consider the fatalism of my first college roommate. He refused to tie his shoes because, he said smugly, he’d just untie them at the day’s end. (Steve Kelsey, where are you today?) He claimed he never tripped over them. So I tried it, feeling like I was settling into some Zenlike zone whose calming refrain was “whatever.”

Then one day, walking on a city sidewalk, I heard someone shout, “Thief—stop him!” It was a purse snatcher. A teenager. He sprinted past me. At the time, I was a pretty good long-distance runner. So I pursued him. Oh, yeah, I thought, I’m gonna get you, buddy! But, then, suddenly I was flying headlong to the sidewalk. Right: those untied laces. Arms outstretched, palms to the concrete, I slid to a painful stop, at which point I heard another runner sprint past me. By the time I got to my feet and made sure I had no broken bones, the other runner had collared the thief, everyone on the sidewalk applauding him. Thereafter, I started tying my shoes.



Ron Tanner