Nearly exhausted, I gave one last mighty pull. A loud mechanical growl assaulted my eardrums. Fumes from the freshly started engine spiraled skyward like smoke up a chimney. The stench burned my nose, making tears well up in my eyes. Smiling with satisfaction, I pushed a lever forward, and the tiller’s sharp metal blades eagerly leapt ahead.
The ground-churning monster charged swiftly across the garden with me in tow, down one row and up another, onions on one side, tomatoes on the other. The curved spades rotated on and on tirelessly. My bare feet sank deeply into the soft, freshly worked soil. It was so warm on the surface, but cool and damp several inches down.
Hot sunshine mercilessly scorched my skin. A trickle of sweat rolled off my forehead and down the side of my face. Small bugs attracted to salty, wet skin flew kamikaze missions under my glasses, and into my eyes.
Jerking to a stop, I swiped at the tickling torture under my spectacles, accidentally knocking them off my nose. As I bent to pick them up, the satanic bugs decided to take up residence on my damp forehead. The hand I used to wipe away the pests felt gritty with soil.
Sweaty, breathing heavy, with a mud-smeared face, I looked around at the garden. The corn looked great, especially since being weeded, but I could see where some weeds had snapped off at ground level. With roots intact, they were coming back heartier than ever. Instead of killing those weeds, all I did was aggravate them.
Frowning, I turned and looked at my row of beans. One of them had broken off an inch above the ground yesterday. Was it going to survive by sending up a new top? No…its stump was shriveled and brown! I should have known. Vegetables NEVER come back after an amputation or accidentally getting pulled out of the ground…the big crybaby sissies!
Returning to my tilling, I looked back at the ground behind me. It was covered with freshly uprooted weeds. They lay scattered and torn. From experience I knew that as long as a single root made contact with soil, the plant would come back hale and strong. A glance at the turning tiller blades revealed clumps of weeds riding the machine up, over, and around. They reminded me of children riding a Ferris wheel.
That night I dreamt about the garden. In surreal detail, the vegetables and weeds came to life. As I approached my garden holding a sharp bladed hoe, the vegetables cringed out of my way, while the weeds shook their leaves at me and imitated the high-pitched giggle of Munchkins in Munchkinland.
I wanted to grind the weeds into to a sticky, green pulp, but there were too many of them and I had only one hoe. A big, gleaming tiller suddenly appeared out of nowhere. With fanatic relish, I grabbed the handles of the mechanical monster and aimed it down a weedy row. The young weeds rode the blades of my tiller up, over, and around. They joyously cried, “Wheee!” landing root-side down to continue growing at an accelerated rate. It was obvious they enjoyed ‘rough housing’ with the gardener.
My daytime frustration with the weeds was nothing compared to my dream-state frustration. Wanting to spill some chlorophyll, I lunged at my tormenters, ready to do hand to hand combat. “Die, miserable weeds!” The weeds suddenly grew tall and got into my face. I fell backwards.
With a mighty myoclonic jerk, I woke up. My thrashing around woke Arnie. He lifted his head to ask, “What’s the matter with you?”
“It’s those weeds out in the garden!” I complained. “I just can’t seem to kill them. They keep coming back.”
My husband put his head back down on the pillow and said, “Leave the weeds alone tonight. Tomorrow they’ll be bigger and easier to pull…ZZZZZ.”