Editors Column: Short winter bears bad news

Our early spring is reason for deep concern. Snow has melted in the mountains, meaning the Skagit River will run dry in July and Oak Harborites will find it their civic duty to drink nothing but beer the rest of the summer. That’s the good news. The bad news is, the grass started to grow in January.

I noticed last week that my lawn had sprouted up about a quarter of an inch. I inadvertently looked at the green patch over the septic tank while admiring the new truck in my neighbor’s driveway. Normally it’s my policy on a warm winter’s day to avoid eye contact with the grass, which only makes it grow more furiously just to irritate the lawn-owner. Grass is spiteful stuff, always trying to get even for all those painful lawn-mowings by growing faster than ever.

I envy our countrymen in Boston, whose grass is buried under 12-inches of snow. It’s barely February, and grass should be humbled under a pile of white stuff, or at least frozen so stiff that it can’t grow. Alas, our winter consisted of a week of sub-freezing nights in December, after which the pussy willows started blooming and the grass came back to life. If we had bears, they’d be coming out of hibernation to hunt for tasty winter tourists who are easy to catch, as they’re doing nothing on Whidbey.

The growing grass kindles thoughts of my three-year-old Wal-Mart lawnmower sitting in the garage, surrounded by a winter’s worth of storage additions from the kids that form an enormous huge barricade around the machine, as if daring me to try to get it out. I could move it all outside which would cover the lawn and end the mowing problem, but the neighbors might complain. So I lug it all to the other end of the garage, hoping I never need to access the hot water tank and thereby assuring it’ll blow up in just a week or two.

The lawnmower if Wal-Mart’s bottom-of-the-line product, costing less than a hundred dollars. But so far it’s worked fine. The only problem was the first day I used it and all the bolts fell out, leaving me with the handle as the lawnmower raced downhill toward the dog lazing in the sun. It missed, and I learned to always tighten the bolts before using a new lawnmower.

The lawnmower is now freed of its winter prison, ready to got with just a few hundred pulls of the cord, a choice word or two, and maybe a swift kick.

I’ll be even harder to start, as it’s just not fair to have to mow the lawn when the calendar is still squarely in the middle of winter.

I regret having ever looked at that new truck in the driveway.

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