The Stupid — Revisited

       I did it again! That’s right, I once again found myself standing next to something that had begun as a great idea, but then somehow took an unexpected U-turn, leaving me scratching my head and wondering how I could have been so stupid.

       Yup, I did The Stupid….again. What began as an afternoon of cutting firewood soon became the challenge of how I might get Gizmo, my side-by-side ATV, from its perch balancing on top of a giant red granite boulder.

       I could possibly blame this misfortune on the fact the sun was in my eyes which prevented me from seeing the rock that was now a fulcrum for Gizmo. I might even share, in my defense, that I wasn’t wearing my regular glasses having learned from previous experience that chain saws spitting saw dust on them leaves the lenses so scratched the world viewed through them appears Impressionistic. Instead I was wearing my old prescription sports goggles, the ones I use to wear when I played racquetball and which my friends said made me look like Fearless Fly. These old sports goggles may not have been glamorous, and the prescription strength was years out dated, but they served well as eye protectors.  An added benefit was that if a game of racquetball should suddenly break out in the middle of the woods, I was prepared to step in.

       I wasn’t being careless. I rarely am when working outdoors. I know that agriculture is one of the most dangerous occupations in the United States. I had been driving slowly and watching carefully for the big rocks that the last glacier brought down from South Dakota and Minnesota and then left behind when it retreated. In fact, I was completely focused on a gathering of the rocks ahead when I heard the loud thump and felt the jolt of Gizmo coming to a sudden and violent stop on top of a rock hidden in the grass several yards in advance of the others.

       When you first find you’ve done The Stupid the reaction is usually some form of,  “Oh crap! How the Hell am I going to get out of this one?” This is exactly what I asked the sun, the wind and the grass. None of them offered any good suggestions, so I was left to my own devices.  The same devices that had created a teetering Gizmo in the first place. With some muscle I was able to push Gizmo back enough that the back wheels once again touched earth, but the front ones were now a couple of feet off the ground.

       I will spare you the rest of the grizzly details, including any recounting of adult language and moments of near meltdown, and just tell you that it took a truck jack, some more muscle, several intense bursts of trucker mouth and a lot of farm girl ingenuity but I was finally able to free Gizmo from that rock.

       Once again, The Stupid was a great teacher. I love doing things like cutting my own firewood. It makes me feel strong and self-reliant. But, as I mentioned, I am also aware that a lot of the tasks I am undertaking carry some danger and risk with them. That’s why I am usually hyper vigilant and always try to keep myself very aware of what I am doing and my surroundings at all times.

       That keeps me incredibly present, which is a good practice no matter what we’re doing, but even then,  it’s still way too easy to get focused on a bunch of boulders ahead and not notice the big rock right in front of you!

About louannthomas

Speaker & writer
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4 Responses to The Stupid — Revisited

  1. Philip Wassmer says:

    Love the stories of survival, oneness with the prairie and machine. A grand struggle played out in the vastness of the land with nary an observer for miles, having only ones self to keep score. But writing it, seeing what sound it makes in the world; the recalling of it provides the therapy that is perspective.


  2. Wanda Euwer says:

    I have just begun reading your posts. How true they ring. I had the chance of a lifetime to get to go back and spend a couple of nights in the house I grew up in–and I am older than you. Your post about returning home was special to me. You see, my father built the house I went back to for his wife and 3 year old daughter. How amazing to see that the house has really not changed. Same skinny oak flooring, bathroon tile, etc. I echo your feelings of walking in that house.

    I have had a number of Stupids with Dad’s old John Deere bought in 1986 and moved to Texas in ’91. My problems are tires that keep going flat because of thorns of Prickly Pear and Mesquite, belts that give up and are hard to replace due to the age of the thing. And riding along mowing and being stopped in my tracks by tree stumps left from my land clearing. My husband always cheerfully helps me get ‘unstuck’ I can tell by the look in his eyes that he is thinking I should leave that ‘stupid’ to him.

    Thank for taking me back!


    • louannthomas says:

      Thank you so much for reading my blog! I chuckled in recognition at your “Stupids” too!! So thank you for your wonderful comment and keep enjoying…The Stupids. They do allow for great fun…when we look back on them in our life rearview mirror, don’t they.


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