Bogged Down

We are well into Spring. Everything is in bloom, including the salmonberries. And the blackberries and springing back to life. Recently, I decided to take out some blackberries along with retrieving some abandoned items that have been giving me the slightest bit of grief everytime I saw them.

We live on a hill. Most of our property consists of trees going up the hill. Through our property runs a little stream, year ’round. We have a long driveway that goes up and up to the house and to our separated poll barn. Typically, while taking a rest outside of poll barn, I’d look down the hill coming off our road and into the stream and see long abandoned balls from the previous family: basketballs, volleyballs, and soccer balls. All resting down near the stream.

And I’d make a mental note: “I need to climb down there one day and pick all those balls up.” And I’d wonder why they’d leave such expensive items – perfectly good I’m sure at the time of their loss – discarded down by the stream.

Last Sunday was the day. Armed with my short machete, I cut through blackberry (avoiding salmonberry as much as I could) to get to the abandoned balls. And I made a ecological discovery.

I was walking on the land between the stream and the steep hill that runs along the road. Ends up this soil is a bit lower than the stream and wet. Soggy. Boggy. The soil is saturated and there are pools of standing water. And as I made it to the abandoned balls, my right foot went so deep that it was stuck. Then my left foot was stuck. At this point I dropped the machete, wavered back and forth, put my hands on my hips and gazed across the stream, contemplating the blooming skunk cabbage and thought, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

With one big yank my left foot was free. And I landed on my butt. The Beaker in my mind suddenly started running around with thoughts like, “Ah! What if your big butt starts sinking!” I wasn’t at a good yanking angle but I pulled on my right foot again. Nothing.


I positioned my left foot and both hands on the most stable dirt I could find and gave one big huge yank.

Ploopf! Freedom! I scurried backwards up the hill, cursing the muscle-cramp I now had in my right calf due to the extraction. I then carefully ambled over to the abandoned balls, flinging them to an open area I could easily collect them from later. Every step back desperately sought reasonably solid ground (I could stand to sink an inch or two but three inches set me on edge).

I think I understand now why the balls were abandoned. I have more abandoned items to retrieve (strangely, some dog toys across the stream — do coyotes steal dog toys to play with?).

I think I’ll wait for things to dry out a bit.

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