April 19th, 2010


(no subject)

Picardy is such a silly region.

For months on end it will sit there, sullen and wet, shrouded in dull grays and browns. And then, midway through April, it suddenly wakes to the whole Spring thing, flails its figurative arms in total panic, and BAM, green. Overnight.

And then it just keeps greening.

It's like going to bed in Poland and waking up in Guatemala.

Within a matter of days the meager vegetable pelt that made it through winter became a knee-high jungle for cats to get stranded in forevermore. Allow it to grow further and abandon all hope.

When we moved in, the garden had remained untended for months. Getting it back under control required drafting my father and the unholy hybrid of lawnmower and Howitzer that, I believe, he must have acquired on the Russian black market.

After which it befell me to keep it in check, one way or another.

C.'s parents, who are awesome, offered us a lawnmower. It is a valiant lawnmower. I can find no fault with it. But it's a lawnmower. If the word 'garden' might be stretched to encompass the tract of land around the house, what grows there stopped qualifying as lawn somewhere around the Precambrian era.

And last Spring saw me stepping meekly into the local gardening shop, on the hunt for some tool or other to bring things back into a pretense of civilization.

A sales rep found me nosing around the strimmer shelves, and ventured to interest me in some model or other. A single glance at me, and he directed me toward the newb models, with electronic starters and automated this or that, all while I hesitantly tried to convey the behemothian nature of the vegetation being discussed. At which point he paused, took me a bit further into the power tool area, where I did not dare to tread on my own, stopped in front of a somewhat bulkier model, and said with a sideways glance at me: "Then again, you've got that one." Brief, meaningful pause. "It's got more torque."

I know when I'm being tested.

Moments later saw me standing alone in the face of my jungle, wearing gloves, protection glasses, and a body harness with, hooked upon it at my hip, the power tool of noteworthy torque.

I started it.

The rotating head dematerialized. In its stead, a transparent disc of wind vibrated faintly. I moved the wind disc into a clump of vegetation. The clump dematerialized as well.

Much, much later, I stopped the engine, standing in the middle of a close-trimmed tract of land above which floated a faint green mist, panting with the kind of numb exhilaration that comes only from 1/ close battle and 2/ power tools.

Only few carcasses of lost cats were uncovered in the process.

On that day, the trimmer earned both its renown and its own proper name. Now nettle moms with a ten mile radius scare their seedlings with tales of El Molinator.

You know it's gonna be good when the manual explains in precise details how to take it apart to the smallest elements, fully expects you to, and the thing ships with all the tools to do so.

All this to say that this last weekend marked the yearly awakening of El Molinator from its winterly slumber.

Many shrubs and weeds knew what it was to be mulched in the depths of a Molinator that day, I can tell you.

And because the biggest clumps were made of chive, of all things, now my garden smells of French cuisine.