I haven’t posted since Monday. It’s unusual for me to go that long between posts, but that last one wore me out. Those of us who have loved ones who are in the end stages of any disease are grieving a loss that’s not over yet, so there is no closure. Sometimes it’s hard to think or talk or write about anything else, and sometimes it becomes a real downer for you and everyone around you, regardless of how loving, understanding, and supportive they are. So you try not to think or talk or write. But the human spirit is resilient and continues to seek healing wherever it’s available. I found a bit of healing yesterday as David and I took a ride on the Harley and went shopping for a riding lawn mower.
I’m a firm believer in the therapeutic effects of riding a motorcycle. Riding along at 60 or 70 miles an hour will blow the worries right out of your head, and it will make you more aware of God’s beautiful creation as well. I rode my own bike for several years, but since coming in second in a game of chicken with a dump truck, I’ve been riding on the back behind David. I miss the feeling of control and independence riding solo gave me, but I enjoy the closeness of riding two up and the chance it gives me to really enjoy the scenery. Seeing the countryside on the back of a bike instead of through the window of a car is like seeing a movie on I-Max instead of on a small TV screen, only better. There’s no limit to the size of the screen, there’s real Surround Sound, and there’s even smell-o-vision. The smell of freshly cut grass and wild flowers is awesome. I could do without the skunks and livestock pens, but holding your breath is supposed to increase lung capacity, so even that’s not bad.
Yesterday was a perfect day. Texas is actually having spring this year. Sometimes we go directly from cold to hot with no mild days in between, but this year, we’ve had some spring rains and a number of open window days. It may be because we had no real winter to speak of. I hope it doesn’t mean the triple digit temperatures will be arriving early. But whatever the meteorological reasons, it was an ideal day for a ride, and shopping for a mower was all the excuse we needed.
In Florida, we had a nice civilized yard with St. Augustine grass and defined flower beds. A self-propelled gas mower was all we needed. Then we moved to a 2+ acre plot of land in Texas with lots of trees, lots of tree stumps, and lots of weeds. By the middle of the summer, the mower gave up the ghost, but the drought was in full force, so the weeds died, too. But with the aforementioned rains, the weeds have come back in force, and it was time to bring in some heavy artillery. We donned our helmets, climbed on the bike and headed for Sulphur Springs, about 20 miles away. It was a glorious, spirit-lifting ride, but the real healing began when we got to our first stop.
For the first few minutes, I browsed the mowers with David, but cutting widths and engine specs quickly palled, so I wandered into the garden section. I marveled as I always do at the tiny plants that in a few weeks will produce tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and all sorts of good things to eat. A mother and her young son were looking at berry vines, and their enthusiasm was contagious.
“I want blueberries,” he said.
“I don’t think they have blueberries, but they have strawberries,” she said.
“Can I have grapes?”
“I don’t think grapes are a good idea for us.”
“What are figs?”
“It’s hard to explain, but you wouldn’t like them.”
“I want a red one.”
They finally settled on two strawberry plants, one raspberry, and one blackberry. I saw cobblers in their future, and I saw the promise of new life.
Before long, David was ready to do a little comparison shopping. At the next store, we were greeted by an
enthusiastic salesman. He knew his product, and he knew his customers. He soon had David driving a mower around the parking lot. He looked a little odd wearing his black do rag with orange flames instead of a gimme cap, but I could tell by the look on his face that he had found his ride. While he buzzed around, testing brakes, speed, and all those other guy things, I stood in the shade, enjoying the cool breeze, watching the birds jockey for position on the power lines, and healing a bit more. Then David made a tight 360 turn as if he was mowing around one of our many trees, and I knew he was sold.
“Do you give veterans’ discounts?” he said to the salesman.
“No, but this is a 2011 model, so we might be able to work something out.”
By the time they closed the deal and we mounted up for the ride home, I was really open to what the day had to offer. The fields on either side of the road were thick with green grass and wildflowers instead of the dry brown leftovers of last summer’s drought. There were a few trees that still sported bare branches but most were covered with new leaves or promising buds. The lake was still low, but there was enough water to entice several fishermen to wade out and cast a line. There were fat cows that looked ready to drop a calf at any moment and frisky colts running around the pen. I thought about Mom’s life slowly fading away, I thought about the new life springing up all around me, and I thought of what the psalmist said:
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning. Psalm 30:5