PRATIE PLACE

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Weedwhacker tribulations and reverie

Last year I delivered a Troy-Bilt weedwhacker diatribe and then got a Troy-Bilt TB75SS more or less identical to the one I'd had before that. I loved it for a while and then - its handle broke off. A 20-cent piece of plastic, a ruined tool. I hate waste so for a while I used it thus: get a screwdriver, jam it into the place the handle used to be, push the cable to the "very on" position, remove screwdriver, start string trimmer. This works exactly until you stop once. Then, the engine is hot so when you try to start it again it floods.

Also, somehow I messed up the string head. I thought: "no problem, I'll take the one off last year's wrecked machine," but no, though they looked identical their heads were not compatible.

So I decided, looking over my wasteland of ruined string trimmers, it was time to get a good one. I bought the top-of-the-line Husqvarna, got it home, started it up, it worked perfectly for five minutes and died. It took an extra day to realize that the cap on the air filter didn't tighten properly. Took it back, exchanged it, and spent a couple very happy hours weedwhacking this afternoon.

I promised myself last year that two tanks of gas would be my daily maximum. When I give in to my natural urge, which is to weedwhack for hours till it's too dark to see, my hands get so ruined from the vibration that I can't play the fiddle.

As I hack away in my meadow, feeling grim delight pulverizing thistles and guilt while decapitating clover flowers (and hoping the bees get out of the way in time), I have enough brain cells left over to think, so today I mulled over a recent conversation with long-time friend and singing buddy Beth. She said: "You tell me you feel used up and unnecessary, somebody who didn't know you would think you're a basket case, but I notice you keep doing stuff, so maybe you're not quite ready for the tomb."

See, that's why a person needs a buddy. I need somebody to tell me I'm not quite ready for the tomb.

I realized that what makes me feel most alive is to create things where nothing existed before, particularly things nobody but me could create (because they're so specific to my obscure, eccentric mind). So this summer, when other obligations are few, I'm going to try to write some more songs and paint a lot of peculiar pictures.

Did you hear this on the radio today?

Flock
by Billy Collins

It has been calculated that
each copy of the Gutenburg Bible
required the skins of 300 sheep.

from an article on printing

I can see them
squeezed into the holding pen
behind the stone building
where the printing press is housed.

All of them squirming around
to find a little room
and looking so much alike
it would be nearly impossible to count them.

And there is no telling which one of them
will carry the news
that the Lord is a Shepherd,
one of the few things
they already know.


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