I walk slowly down the steps to the lake
savoring the spring warmth
enjoying the fresh breeze, as the birds
chirp the silence into a frenzy

Along the path are the pieces of edging I cut
to stop mulch from flowing over the stone steps
all askew, right where I put them a year ago
never installed. But I will do it

At a turn is a small wooden walk where
two boards are rotting. It irritates me
every time I see them. The walk is only 5 years old.
The ads for the boards say ‘guaranteed’ for 40 years.
Guaranteed to what? To irritate me? I’ll replace them

Then they won’t match the others. Should I replace all of them?
What would I do with the others? It’s hard to throw away wood
and we aren’t allowed to burn trash here.
Nature can burn anything it wants
but not us. Aren’t we part of nature?
Politics overcomes nature…for a while
but in the end nature always wins. The end isn’t near.

The path turns to mulch.
It’s easier walking than on
the cold stones and rotting guaranteed wood.
I had a crew clean up the overgrown brush and weeds
a few months ago so it looks neat.
But new weeds are already starting to sprout.
They are full of thorns. How can they be so nasty?
I’ll come back with gloves and pull them before they get established

I reach the new natural ground steps I put in 2 years ago.
A great addition. Now we can all reach the lake.
The steps are filled with mulch. They are nice
but not evenly sized so a bit awkward to navigate.
I won’t fix them.
It’s too much work and nature isn’t even.

Formerly rampaging ivy used to crawl over them from the hillside
but the Mexicans who cleaned the hillside for me tore it out.
It’s starting to come back already. I’ll return and pull it
early so it doesn’t take over again

At the bottom of the ground steps the ground flattens out.
It is the emergency spillway for the lake
there for the water to go over in a 100 year flood
so the dam doesn’t break.
We had a 100 year flood three years ago.

Because no water has ever gone over the spillway
at the dam, the land here is full of fire ant hills.
I have to be careful where I step.
Stepping on one of them is a painful reminder
of nature’s wrath.
I will return with fire ant killer and get rid of the hills


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