My nephew started raising chickens at my mother’s house – he lives there, too – earlier this year. They are cooped up, but he lets them wander around while he is at work. I keep the grass cut – my mother and I both have rather large yards – so I was riding around and around this morning at both places.
I’ve recently derived great amusement from the chickens, who, along with squirrels and sheep are among the more nervous denizens of the animal kingdom. Chickens aren’t quite as herky-jerky as squirrels, and they’re less defenseless than sheep.
They’re pretty defenseless, though. Certainly they are no match for my rampaging John Deere.
I don’t chase them. As race car drivers might say, I hold my line. When I get close, though, off they dash, wings flapping in vain, panicking in pell-mell fury. Pair the flight of the domineckers with Roger Miller on my iPod, through the sound-free headphones originally purchased for NASCAR races, and it makes for an amusing morning.
When I was a boy, my father planted pine saplings in the front yard. My younger brother, three or four at the time, was fond of playing with little Tonka trucks. One day, while I was inside watching the Saturday afternoon baseball Game of the Week, and my sisters were playing with the E-Z Bake Oven or pretending they were go-go dancers, my brother spent the afternoon pretending he was a logger. On his hands and knees, he rolled his little truck and its trailer all around the yard, uprooting the saplings and stacking them neatly on his miniature vehicles. When my father got home from gallivanting around, he was furious, but the saplings were never replanted.
Unfortunately, Brack missed one. That tree is now gigantic, and it seems as if every time I mow the yard, its roots are protruding more. As a result, I spend all my time on the upper side of the yard with my left hand on the height lever, raising it to avoid nicking the roots. From experience, the roots damage the blades more than the blades damage the roots.
It occurred to me this morning that my mother’s front yard is a metaphor for my life. I spend too much time chasing chickens and nicking roots.
Generally, I write fiction here and non-fiction at montedutton.com, but this just fits “Well, Pilgrim …” better. I’d appreciate your consideration of my two novels, The Intangibles and The Audacity of Dope.