30 Days of Experiencing Nature: Guilty Pleasures, Weed Whacking Edition

My allergies are acting up. My medication and my allergy treatment of honey and even the homeopathic allergy treatment are barely working. I feel if I wasn’t going triple threat on my symptoms, they would be unbearable.

I am having these issues, but still, when I am asked to get the weed eater at work, my eyes light up.

“Oh, yes, I’ll get right on that!”

I don’t know what it is, but it’s my favorite job. Even more than riding the lawn mower. The lawn mower reminds me too much of the old Disney World attraction Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Only, with this ride, there are no tracks to keep you from pummeling the animation graphics. If I go off course with the lawn mower, I will break this very expensive machine, and do major damage to the natural environment. So I try to be careful.


Well, to be fair, I can’t go ballistic with a weed eater. I can hurt myself for one (and today I got hit by a dozen pine cones and small rocks while I worked, it doesn’t feel good). I could hurt someone else.

But there are few things that have made me feel more powerful than when I’m weed whacking.

I feel guilty by how much I am enjoying this so called “chore”. As a gardener/environmentalist/naturalist/old-school type of girl, shouldn’t I NOT like weed eating? Shouldn’t I feel it’s a step closer to destroying the environment? Or just because I usually hate machinery so much?

I haven’t enjoyed work like this since I was a diver at SeaWorld and I got to scrub the back pools with a hull scrubber. I felt like Spiderman, scaling 20 foot walls. Oh, and the deep satisfaction of seeing the algae just come right off. Every time I hull scrubbed, the pool sides went from a brownish color to a beautiful bright white. I loved hull scrubbing.

And I like weed whacking.

My only drawback is the allergies. I’m hoping I get a hold on those because NOT weed whacking this summer may cause me deep depression.

It is a deeply satisfying feeling to see something you are working on dramatically improve.

At the remote parks we are in charge of maintaining, the grass and weeds are quite overgrown. As a park aide, one of my duties is to help get the trails and picnic areas under control again. So, for my first lesson in weed eating, my trainer brought me to Joseph Whidbey State Park and we got to work on the trail opening. My coworker brought a weed eater with super thick string. It was designed to eat through large bushes, even blackberry bramble. Since I was just starting out, I took the very tall grass which was overgrown by the entrance.

Within ten minutes, I looked around me at all the destruction. I was enthralled. This is disturbingly enjoyable, I thought.

Today I got to increase my experience level on the weed eater. I worked on the roadside at my main park, Fort Ebey, trimming back the salal and some of the small blackberries growing, as well as other weeds making their way toward the road. It makes walking along the side of the road difficult and hazardous, since there are a couple of sharp turns where cars may not see pedestrians. So, by removing some of the overgrowth, I am making the park more enjoyable, presentable, and safer for everyone.

I ran out of gas twice before I decided it was time to put my toy away for the evening and get started on my normal evening routine.

But tomorrow, weed eater, we shall be reunited. And victory will be mine!

I might need help from withdrawals after the summer is over.

We shall see.


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