My thoughts turned to Spring this morning as I was walking back from City Hall in downtown St. Louis in yet another effort to get all of our documents in order. The weather here, like in other parts of the country, is unseasonably warm, straight from winter to summer.
This means that activity at our harbor is increasing, something I need to keep in mind. Swing Set is not de-winterized yet. We have been staying aboard most Saturday nights all winter and this means using "the bucket" for most toilet activities, however, like any self-respecting dock rat would do, the males generally utilize the areas between the docked boats for nature calls when they find themselves outside. I was on my way up to the car last week when I decided at the last minute to take care of business before jumping into the car for the 40 minute ride home.
Now, before I go on, don't tell me that there is not a male boater out there who has never done this. I am calling you a liar and a fraud, in front of whatever supreme being you want to name, if you say you have never used this method for relief, at least once.
Sneaking in between two boats is usually fairly discrete, unless of course someone is aboard a boat you are standing between. Even worse if you are facing in their direction when involved in this activity. This is usually not an issue at night; for one, if someone is aboard, they may have lights on. In this instance, you avoid this area. For another thing, at night it's dark out, at least around here, so you can't be detected.
But during the day, it's like those pimped up cars you see on the streets with the dark sunscreen on all the windows; installed for the purpose of "you can see out, but can't nobody see in." Someone looking out aboard a boat you are facing gets a technicolor view of all your hardware and you don't know if someone is in there or not, unless you hear either screaming or loud laughter.
Such was my experience last weekend. As I finished up and walked up to the parking lot, expecting to see only our car waiting for me, I noticed another vehicle on the lot. Yes, it was the vehicle belonging to the owners of the boat I had used to shield myself from any prying eyes in the vicinity. Turns out I would have been less offensive had I stood on the bow of Swing Set, and hummed a tune during the process. However, having heard no screams or laughter, there is a chance that they were in a part of the boat where they couldn't see me. I figure I'll hear about it later if they weren't.
So Spring, right? Today, thinking about Spring got me to think about trees. We haven't owned a tree, much less a blade of grass, for over 12 years. I don't miss owning either. The grass is just so needy when it comes to mowing and otherwise manicuring, and trees are just killers.
My memories of trees always take me to the land of chainsaws, ladders, and axes. I've fallen out, climbed up, got stuck, and nearly dropped on a new garage, trees.
I've never known too much about trees; I know some of the local species, and pretty much which ones stay green all year, and the first botany lesson I learned was about trees, but not many since.
We had a plum tree in the back yard when I was growing up. Now, this tree happily dropped it's fruit all over the backyard, and it was one of my duties to patrol the compound for dropped plums. (I say "all over", but we know it was just below the tree.) The plums were always found dropped on the ground, either that, or too green and still held fast to the branches. It was rare indeed, that a plum would be found by me or anyone else, that was ripe for the pickin' and the eatin' fresh from the twig. I may have spied a comely sample a time or two, only to climb up in order to snatch the beauty, when all I would find was the other side eaten away by the quicker blue jays or robins lurking about.
What I learned early on was there was a connection between an early thaw and not many plums to dispose of afterward. The plum tree would bud in the warm weather, then we'd get another freeze, and I'd be relieved of the thrill of scooping rotten plums from the ground because the tree would bear no fruit. If you have ever scraped a rotten plum from the ground, replete with maggots and powdery mold, you can appreciate my thrill of having avoided it for at least a year occasionally.
Aboard Swing Set, we won't have to worry about cutting grass, or trimming trees. We don't even own any plants, nor do we intend to.
Having just said this, I remember having said the same thing about not owning another dog. One thing, though, we'll be free to change our minds if we want to.