March 17, 2019


with little jaws of death.
About four years ago, P.J. and I were at Home Depot, shopping for grill-y things, when my eyes lighted upon a battery-powered lopper.  The name reminded me of floppy-eared rabbits, but that didn't matter, because at the time I had had no idea such a thing existed and I desired it with a terrible desire.

P.J. and I don't fit the stereotype of dykes who buy each other power tools as birthday gifts; we're all rose-gold earrings and hygge and send-her-off-for-a-massage.  But there was a light in my eyes as I unboxed the lopper and embraced its destructive powers.

I charged the battery and then four years went by and I never once used it.  This is the Tao of power tools.

Until yesterday.  There is a dead tree that I've spent two years trying to compel back to life, and it has stubbornly refused to return from the dead.  I decided recently that I needed to end this one-sided relationship.  It wasn't healthy.

And then there are the three crape myrtle trees down by the street, hanging untidily over the patch of our property that isn't mud and needs to be mowed in warmer weather.  There used to be six, but in December of 2017, a school bus tire caught the silt-mud in the adjacent field with a wayward tire, the driver coping with pea-soup fog, and the bus slid fast and crashed into our yard, taking three of the crape myrtles with it and narrowly missing the venerable magnolia that would have induced casualties instead of one bruised forehead and a sensational story to tell at the middle school.

I was grateful for the free tree removal.  I told the town council that if they'd come get the stumps out, fix the mud ruts and sew some grass seed, no harm, no foul.  We're not litigious and we loathed those trees and what some might have considered "property damage and emotional distress" was to us a pleasing favor.

The branches of the remaining three droop with heavy blossoms or a second season of buds throughout the summer, harboring a thousand small spiders that love to build their thin-stranded webs between the irregular gaps.  When I need to mow and we can't reach the lawn guy, I use my electric mower, but I first have to perform my ninja-style removal dance of imaginary spider webs using a walking stick, and this crazed ritual is only for my psychological benefit because it never, ever gets rid of all the webs.  Mowing equals face-webs.

For the past five weeks, I've intended to go take down those branches, and the insultingly deceased tree, with the lopper.  Spring is here and the spiders will arrive soon.  Trees are blooming.  Temperatures are warming.  Every passing day has carried the risk of losing the spider reprieve of winter.

And for the past five weeks, the haze of deepening depression has prevented me from caring enough to rear up and do it.

Yesterday, as I opened the back door to tell the dogs to stop barking because it was seven in the morning - get your stupid asses inside the house - oi! I'm talking to you - okay now I'm rattling the biccie jar - here you come, I noticed a single spinneret across the door frame, placed there by some overachiever spider as a warning.

An hour later, I put on gardening gloves and popped the freshly charged battery (which was hell to locate in our tempest of a garage) into the lopper, and hefted its solid weight.  I'd just dealt with a flooded laundry room (again) and that had thrown gasoline on my smoldering pain and anger and, in short, I was ready to fuck up some shit.

The trunk of the demised tree was warm butter to the lopper.

The thrill of power gave me the strength to haul the tree to our growing pile of storm-felled branches.  I turned and looked downhill at the crape myrtles, and walked Clint Eastwood-style to the base of the first one.  I cut off every branch I could reach, not the least bit mindful of aesthetic considerations.  Die, die, die.  And you:  Die.  Fuck you:  Die.

Propelled by momentum, I went after the magnolia, which might have been a mistake because now it looks ridiculous and I never mow under it anyway because I like the English ivy entwined around its base.  It's going to take me eight trips to haul those branches up the hill, but I couldn't help myself.  It was like having a long arm with a chainsaw for a hand.   Who could resist?  The neighbors are lucky I didn't keep going and murder all of their saplings.


Jesus, this post is boring.  I can't believe you made it this far.  Who wants to read that much detail about someone trimming tree branches?  It must be Sunday and you're killing time.  I'll help you by telling you that my bottle of Sensoril arrived from Amazon yesterday and I've just taken my second capsule.  It's a derivative from some Indian ginseng leaf that The Monk recommended I take as a supplement to the lithium.  I'm not experiencing any ideation this morning, so that may mean that this thing carries a wicked placebo effect, but I'll take a placebo effect in the place of deep darkness.  I'll take an herb.  I'll take anything.


  1. I'm an idiot - I typed a comment and forgot to hit the 'publish' button.

    The joy of lopping, has up until now, been a closely held secret. I am glad that it was you who let it out. I have always found it cathartic. The destruction, the 'what can I lop now', the inevitable "oops, I may have gone too far, to hell with it, it'll grow back".

    Naturally, now I want a battery operated lopper. My love and desire to have power tools is a ravenous thing - even if it is only to hang it on my wall as a warning to those folk who thrive on attempting to piss me off - right beside the bull emasculator (when I find one gross enough)

    1. You goof, you don't even have any trees! Which begs the entertaining question of where you would head first with the electric lopper. Nuala's "gardening service" perhaps? Write a winning essay and you might win one. :D Caaaareful what you ask for ....

    2. *pouty face* - Just 'cause I don't have any trees here, doesn't mean a battery powered loppers wouldn't come in handy for something. Nuala does have trees, several of 'em :p - and as soon as I get my long loppers back from a friend - I'm going to use it - but it works on a pully system and doesn't have batteries. I'm not saying the long loppers isn't good, it is. It gives me at least five feet distance from the bloody (literally) holly tree in the back corner of Nu's garden - that thing attacks me regularly and without just cause - so I'm going to shorten it considerably.

      I hope that wasn't a winning anything though - 'cause I'd rather a dragon ;)

  2. Replies
    1. Well, I love living trees too, but I love killing specific trees. You may have inspired me to go break down a particular tree which has been my nemesis for a while.