I Don’t Like To Mow

Puffball
Yellow Salsify Puffball

Putting Off Pay Off

I don’t like to mow.  I hadn’t mowed this spring, yet.  The weeds were getting taller and taller.  All my neighbors had mowed their yards; a few more than once.  There was something growing out there and I wanted to see what it was.  I could tell it was a specimen, not one of those weeds, a dense community of like-kind trying to choke out anything dissimilar. This one was taller, stronger, reaching upward with several outstretched branches .  I couldn’t mow it down.  I had to wait and see what it’s flower looked like.  Besides, I don’t like to mow.  Never have!

I finally did break down and mow.  I had too.  The darn jungle was just getting too tall.  If I didn’t mow, now, it would become, rather than a mowing, a bush-whacking project of monumental dimensions.  Out came my Honda HR215HXA self propelled mower w/hydrostatic transmission.  Down weeds, down!  “Bruhaha!”  But, I spared this plant.  Carefully, and with skill, I maneuvered the menacing machine, capable of reducing all in its path to splinters of pulp and fiber around it’s, now looking, fragile stalk.  In short order what remained was a modernistic looking two foot high deluxe apartment building towering above a mass of closely cropped one-size-fits-all flats.  I could now have the best of both worlds.  A closely cropped yard of weeds matching my neighbors’ yards for the uniform height of our weeds.  Well, with the exception of my special specimen which sticks out like the proverbial “thumb”.

I didn’t have to wait long for my curiosity to be sated.  The next day, about mid-morning, I was greeted with a single yellow, daisy-like flower beginning to open from atop one of the upward bound stems, each of which was topped with its own swelling bud.  I’d like to think it was showing its gratitude for being spared the whirling blade of dismemberment and death.  That’s just me feeling connected to everything.  More than likely I scared it and all its energy was shifted into producing seed, the sole purpose of its life cycle and embedded deeply in the DNA of every single seed it produces.  I enjoyed its yellow flower the rest of the day.

The following morning, in place of the yellow flower there was seed pod.  By mid-morning I could tell it was opening.  By 1:30 PM it was open fully.  The sky was completely overcast, as it had been all day.  The sunlight, filtered through the clouds was very bright.  It was wonderful light.  There was, what we call in Oklahoma, a little breeze; In Houston it’d be called a wind.  I gathered my gear:  camera, 105mm macro, remote shutter release, tripod, and McClamp stick, a plant clamp designed to safely hold a delicate plant steady for pictures.  The sight of the puffball in this light was exciting.  It was so delicate in its structure.  Every seed perfectly designed to fly effortlessly, carried to who-knows-where on the invisible currents of the wind.  The play of light upon the almost invisible fibers was hypnotic.  Up and down, to and fro, lower and lower, shift here, shift there, I worked and maneuvered tripod camera in and out of one position and to another.  My sense of location and the sounds of the city around me disappeared in the moment.  It was just me and the offspring of this plant.  Finally, after a passage of time of unknown length, I lay on the grass totally at peace with myself and creation.

Within the hour that followed, parts of the puffball had escaped the sphere of its birth and taken wing on the currents of wind growing stronger as the afternoon deepens.

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