Two or three years ago I found myself watching some television news coverage of a devastating wildfire in the Oklahoma City area, not far from my friend Jim Beckel’s home. At one point, the news helicopter circled a home that was in the middle of a clearing. As we watched, the fire raged from the nearby woods into the even-closer pasture, then when it reached the mowed yard, it just stopped. It was pretty amazing, actually. It was like flipping a switch.
I thought of that recently as I saw a forecast for increasing fire danger, and particularly after photographing a wildfire in a wooded area across the street and down a few blocks. I decided that our pasture, which hasn’t been cut since July 4 of last year, probably posed some degree of wildfire threat.
Tonight I fired up the DR Mower, a powerful, noisy beast that became mine after our de facto mother-in-law Dorothy’s husband George passed away in 2006. Without a set amount of cutting as a goal, I simply chugged away, mowing waist-high grass and weeds until I ran out of daylight. I succeeded in pushing the pasture back from the house enough to alleviate much of the wildfire threat.
Brush-hogging, as this activity is called around here, is meditative in the same way summer mowing is, and I was glad to be working hard outdoors again. When I came inside, I was covered in dust and grass, and exhausted, which felt great. I grabbed a shower, then one of those “lie down and don’t move a millimeter for an hour” naps.