Thoughts . . . by Mark Rich

. . . scribbled . . . scrawled . . . trimmed . . . typewritten . . . grubbed up . . . squeezed from circumstance . . .

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Volunteer Labor

Our last-Sunday traipsing took us through Newburg Corners -- a ridgetop village where once we stood in the freezing November wind for a day simply to be present at an auction. Martha pointed out the vineyard near the road. Thick and unruly, the vines still offered their last-year tangles to the eye. What a lot of trimming it would take, too, to move down those long rows with clippers in hand. I suppose that as you grow more experienced, you wield those clippers with more efficiency; and I know it is possible to do the clipping even in spring -- which may be the intent of these growers. Maybe time simply got away from them.

We had one bit of voluntary vine-clipping done for us, this winter. Thank you, rabbit. It was the senseless kind of clipping that rabbits will do, any time of year: a simple snip of the stem, for the sheer pleasure of shearing. The rabbit left the top part of this thin vine unnibbled, and did no gnawing upon the lower stem. It simple severed the stalk.

Why? Well, I recall a rumor going around the village here that rabbits might actually have a smidge of sense in their noggins. When our rabbits got wind of this insulting notion, one of them promptly thought to quash it by an act of senseless snipping.

We do, at least, have the consolation that our rabbits have not an iota more sense than anyone else's.

The vine so snipped was my volunteer wild grape, which I had trained to a nice vertical beginning. The snip is not fatal to the vine nor to my designs -- only to the idea that a rabbit's head has much function beyond ear-support.

Cheers ...

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