The Conqueror


Is it October already? I know it is but… it seems to have crept up on me even though I saw it creeping up on me.

This time of year conjures one main image in my mind – raking leaves. I live in a heavily wooded area, all the trees have different budding and shedding times, so basically I will be spending the next few months raking leaves and climbing up on the roof of the house to empty the gutters.

I need a new rake. The old one served me well, but it is time for it to retire to the shed and live the rest of its life in lazy leaning until it rusts away. Everything in the shed rusts away. My hedge trimmer is stuck rusted and open-mouthed. I wonder what its last words were, I was not there to hear them, maybe the pond net will whisper them to me, it’s not likely to rust in peace. The mice might turn it into bedding.

Rather than logically just go out the second that I had the thought to buy a new rake and buy one… I am shopping avoidant… also known as frugal… that thought reminded me of Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress, which I adore and have adored since I was a teenager… and so I spent a few hours or was it minutes perusing the images on the internet and having lots of ooh ahhh moments of artistic appreciation. Wasting my precious and intermittent internet access on something which was anything but a waste.

When I wasn’t lost in distraction, which is my accidental hobby at the moment and very useful for not spending too much mortal time thinking about my own private hell, through which I tend to make more progress in getting out of it the less I try to do anything about getting out of it… my own private version of Zen applied to my own Zen koan-ish problem… I was out collecting conquers for my cat. It loves to bat them around and then leave one strategically placed for a stupid human to step on and then do a comedic pratfall.

Have you ever heard the sound of one cat laughing?

I never take the conquers upstairs, that’s marble territory. My cat enjoyed the marbles it got for Christmas last year with best wishes from the least expensive Christmas cracker company. The fancy biscuits my partner and I bought it were sniffed dutifully and then dismissed as lacking the fun factor… which the marbles definitely had and still have. Yet again their placement after a bit of batting, chasing and playing is strategic… at the top of the stairs.

Sometimes I wonder if the cat is trying to accidentally on purpose kill us… but if we died, who would give it raw beef sliced from a steak which stupid humans stupidly cook and cover in revolting sauce? Has it thought this through? If it has… Hmmm.

There were no conquers or acorns last year. Acorns are even better than conquers to play with, but the best ones are hard to find. There is competition from all the beasties who also collect them, not to play with but to feast upon. And it can be very dangerous collecting them. The danger does not come from competitive collectors of such treasures, but from the trees, they have very good aim and those missiles hurt like… well, that cartoon image of birds circling your head… now I know what inspired the cartoonists. YOUCH! Tweet, tweet, tweet… big bump growing up and out of noggin!

Raking is excellent exercise, but maybe I’ll treat myself to a leaf blower. My neighbour has one of those, what an annoying sound, yet very efficient and besides you don’t hear it when you use it, only other ears do that. Still, all the gadgets I’ve bought for gardening tend to not do very much after a short span of use. My strimmer spat strimmer wire at me then gave up the strimmer ghost, that strimmer had replaced a previous one which just emitted a very farty smell and died. My chainsaw… is now another thing rusting in peace in the shed. Probably for the best, I kept expecting myself to cut my leg off in a moment of distraction, but it was great fun to use, tedious to clean and sharpen. Fiddly.

Or maybe I won’t do anything this year, just let nature take care of itself. My garden grows when I don’t try to make it grow, when I do it doesn’t and plants rebel by dying. My problems sort themselves out when I don’t try to sort them out, when I do they multiply. In fact I get more done when I don’t do anything at all than when I try to do things… odd that. Nothing gets done when I try to do something, so if I do nothing…



*Conquers = conkers (it’s a spelling mistake which I made when I wrote this, realised what my muddled brain did some time later, and I’m leaving it as is with this added)