Still Slogging

I’m still mowing the back eight-acre field with the walk-behind brush hog. When I’m in the thick of it, it’s hard to see progress but I think I’m about two-thirds done.

I’ve finished all the land Leon first cleaned off with the bulldozer, and now I’ve reached the acres where he was running out of time. The surface is rockier and there are even more stumps and broken logs under the rye. This is discouraging and slows me down. I’m wrestling the machine, sweating, as it jumps and whipsaws in new directions every two feet.

After so many days it is tougher to keep my mind from rebelling. I am sick of this job. Hush. Isn’t it time to quit yet today? It’s only been an hour and a half. This is going to take another week. Stop it.

My usual mental tricks are getting stale. I remind myself how lucky I am to be out in the sunshine in the beauty of nature, watching monarch butterflies flitting amidst the goldenrod. How lucky I am to be big and healthy and strong enough to fight the brush hog and keep it straight. How lucky I am to have the rented brush hog — think how long clearing this pasture would have taken a hundred years ago! (As if to underline this, yesterday I mowed over a rusty horseshoe that must have been cast in the 1920s or ’30s, when this land was last free of trees.)

Nevertheless my mind whispers: My blisters hurt. I am sick of this job.

It is due to thunderstorm today and tomorrow. There are flash flood warnings; my poor neighbors in the valley, devastated and reeling from Irene, are surely shuddering.

I have to return the brush hog on Tuesday. I will mow right up to the first crack of lightning and then quit. Of course I am intensely lucky, shot through with luck — but I am also a little tired of brush-hogging.

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