I have been staring at the riding mower for weeks now. I needed to move it out of our little pecan orchard that will soon flood when receive our first watering from Elephant Butte Irrigation District. The Rio Grande in our part of New Mexico is bone dry from mid-August to June these years of drought and we will probably only get three or four waterings this summer. But the mower has been sitting in the yard under its cover since last fall and I dreaded trying to get it started. Why didn’t I follow the recommendation of our small engine repairman and start it up once a month to charge the battery? Why didn’t I run all the gas out of it the last time I used it?
Knowing that I will be out of town for a few weeks when the water is sure to come, I had to take action. I decided to just assume that the battery was dead and that I had to drain the gas from the tank. I gathered the few little tools to remove the battery and I noticed that I had a container full of gas in the shed…from last September. I tried to convince myself that it would be okay to use that old but carefully stored gas but when I dropped the battery off for re-charging I decided to ask. No, they explained, the ethanol in the gas gets “thick” after about three weeks and will “gum up the carburetor”. I had figured out how to drain the gas last season so I took care of that task while the battery was charging. Just be patient with all these little steps, I told myself. It’s all part of the process of getting started.
I picked up the battery this morning and stopped to get some fresh gas but in a smaller quantity so I could use it before it got “gummy” again. I changed into my work clothes, found the key to the mower, took a deep breath of patience and approached the machine. I popped the battery down into its spot under the seat and attached the cables without difficulty. I opened the hood to put in the gas, disgusted with all the accumulated spider webs, leaves and sand that had blown in under the cover. I grabbed one of the dead branches that I had collected from around the orchard earlier in the week and used it to scrape away the mess. Then I put down the hood, took my seat behind the wheel, put the key in the ignition and reviewed the sequence for starting the engine. I prepared myself for a disappointment as I turned the key but I had a happy surprise when it started right up! I put it in gear with a “Thank you, God!” and kicked up some dust around the yard as I cleared the few hardy weeds that have managed to grow with our occasional spring rains. Finally I drove down through the gate and parked the mower in the side yard that will not be irrigated.
The process of getting started for another season of growing and mowing is not unlike my experience of writing this blog every day for almost two weeks. There were times of resistance, just staring at the screen and knowing that I had work to do but preferring to ignore it. Taking time to gather my “tools” and to organize my thoughts, to clear away the cobwebs and get rid of what might “gum up the works” was very helpful. Fresh gas and a charged battery were essential. Gratitude filled my heart when the words jumped out without coaxing and there was great satisfaction in surveying a finished piece of work, hitting the button and seeing the “YAY! You’ve published another blog!”
I will be spending the next few weeks in California so I may not be such a faithful blogger but I thank everyone who has been following and encouraging me to continue. You have helped me to remember how much each day counts!