it's been nearly two weeks since the snake episode, and i've sworn off mowing the outback. hey, it's not part of our yard. it isn't our responsibility to maintain it. and i even called the city the other day to complain. there is an ordinance whereby property owners who fail to keep their lot clean and maintained can be fined up to twelve hundred dollars. and i'm hoping that's what's gonna happen to whoever owns these parcels we lovingly refer to as "the outback".
when i called in the complaint i learned that the mowing last fall came about as a result of a complaint. so the property owner is not only an idiot, he's an already been warned idiot. i don't mind giving him the business again. (gotta quit watching wally and the beaver so much. i'm beginning to talk like them.)
then today turned out to be nice. around 11 the mercury reached 70. as opposed to virtually every other day for the last two weeks, there was nary a cloud in the sky. a beautiful day. and as i looked out the back door, beyond my patio, beyond my lush, green grass, i was sickened by the foot deep grass in the outback. so i reversed my decision and drug out mister craftsman and headed into the wilderness.
i gassed up before i started mister craftsman. i know the outback will consume a full tank. and i don't want to run dry out there. after the snake episode i'm a bit spooked. i don't wanna be out there any longer than necessary. and certainly don't want to be stand in one spot for very long. makes for an easy target.
i mow in a clockwise direction to start. that way the discharge chute is away from the fence, exterior borders. and that allows me to mow closer to the fence. eliminates a lot of weed whacker work. so i headed out west, then north, then east, back south, then turned back to the west approaching the area now known as "snake hollow".
i was a little apprehensive as i neared the hollow. maybe a little paranoid. heck, let's be honest. i was scared. snakes scare the doo-doo out of me. and in this tall combination of grass and weeds, you can't see much. until it's mowed. and i'm mowing a 22 inch path. it's particularly unnerving on the first pass cause i can't see the ground up ahead. so i watch the tall grass carefully for movement.
my eyes began to dart back and forth. too and fro. hither and yon. wonder if that oughta be "to and fro". yeah, i think it should. change that to "to and fro". and then hither and yon. then thither and wan. and any other direction my nervous eyes can jerk to and from. and i slowed down my pace. i was being very careful.
i passed the corner of the fence placing me smack dab in the middle of snake hollow. my heart was racing wildly. i tried to be extremely stealthy in my movements. as stealthy as you can be with a 6.5 horsepower craftsman roaring in front of you. but my intent is to get mister copperhead, if he's still around, to notice the mower and not the mower pusher.
and as careful as i was being, it was certain that any movement would catch my darting to and fro eyes. i took the precaution of leaning a shovel against the fence there in the middle of snake hollow. but i questioned if i could stride, grasp and thrust the shovel at mister copperhead more quickly than he could lunge and strike at me. that's why i'm so damned scared.
and then i saw it. coming out of the deepest grass. the unmistakable lethal head, with the unmistakable jaws, with the unmistakable eyes, of mister copperhead himself. and he was lunging. striking directly at me. i felt my first heart attack nearing. and as mister copperhead got closer, in mid-lunge time shifted downward into slow motion. that set jaw. those beady eyes, those wiry legs . . . legs? anyone ever realize how closely a frog's head resembles that of a snake?
when i picked myself up off the ground i had to chuckle. the frog missed me by three feet. and i completed mowing without further excitement.