As I write this, spring is donning a new dress of green. But to accomplish it, her weather is beastly! Earlier this week, I decided it was time to start the annual spring ritual of raking the yard. My goal was to complete the task before the promised rains commenced. Armed with tarps, rakes and a pile of determination I set out to conquer the yard. Because I like to keep my mind busy while I do mundane work, I chose to listen to an audio book. Not having a story downloaded to my phone, I resurrected my husband’s Walkman. I know, that is really old technology, but I am old enough to remember when it was the cat’s meow in newfangled gadgets. Too old for Bluetooth speakers, it is paired with cords and speakers, but I also found corded earbuds for mobile use with batteries. My audiobook from the public library worked well with the Walkman. The portable disk fit perfectly in the large front pocket of my sweatshirt.
As I began raking, I marked my goal until coffee time. When I get to that point, I take a break. The problem is that I find the “zone” I can’t tear myself away from whatever the project might be. Having reached my goal, I decided to accomplish just a little more before breaking. The plot, which was developing nicely, provided the motivation to continue working. Next thing I knew the CD announced “this is the end of Disk 2, please insert Disk 3 to continue.” Guess I’m taking the break now. That was when I realized I was sweating like a butcher. Checking the thermometer mounted on the garage, I learned the temperature had risen sharply and it was pressing toward 65 degrees. When did that happen? I needed to ditch the sweatshirt. Women’s clothes typically do not have large pockets, so I needed to find a way to carry my Walkman. I remembered seeing my daughter stuff her phone in the back of her jeans, so I decided to apply her strategy. Shoving the Walkman in the back of my jeans and running the cord to the earbuds up through my T-shirt, out the top and into my ears seemed like a good idea. As I continued raking, proud of my progress, I felt the disk slip. It was now riding along my backside about hip level. I tried pulling it up a bit and continued raking. Making excellent progress and enjoying the exquisite weather, I was not deterred by a little slippage.
As I continued to lose myself in the story and the raking process, I felt a sudden tug on my ears as the earbuds pulled out. The Walkman continued slipping and journeyed its way down my pantleg to my knee. OK, now it was definitely time for a break. This strategy was not working and I was knee deep into the story plot. First, I made sure I had not destroyed the delicate earbud wires. Oh good, they still work. Both of them. Now, how was I going to carry that Walkman? (If you think I was discouraged by this bump in the road, you don’t know this grandmother very well.) Rummaging through the house I found a small hot pink children’s National Geographic carrying bag with lime green handles. Perfect, the Walkman fit with only a little room for it to flop around, I pulled my ever-handy carabiner clip from my purse and used it to hook the small bag to the back beltloop of my jeans. Again, I snaked the fine cords under my shirt and up the neck and tested my new strategy. Voila! It worked perfectly. I was able to continue raking, stopping only to stretch, grab some water, and change the CD. For the record, I am glad we live in the country where there are few neighbors passing by to see me raking the yard with a pink and lime green tail attached to my backside.
The story continued as I wrapped up the project with several piles of leaves and cottonwood branches dotting the yard. I had already filled my remaining tarp, and it was too dry to burn leaves. I had no other option than to use leaf bags which I found in a box in the garage. I dislike filling plastic bags. They force you to get up close and personal with the dead leaves, dirt and debris. The only redeeming factor is that piles of full black leaf bags are proof of a job well done, in case you can’t tell by the improvement in the yard. Anyway, the yard is raked. There are piles of black bags for proof, and just in time. The promised rain and wind are upon us and spring is indeed putting on her new green dress. By the time you read this, the rain should have stopped and hopefully the sun will be shining. We Minnesotans can return outdoors and enjoy the lush green beauty of spring.
Sue Wilken is a lifelong resident of Fergus Falls. Her column appears in the weekend edition.