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Musings on Mulch

While walking through the parking lot at the Shops at Foxchase to get my usual Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and then on to the Charles E. Beatley, Jr. Central Library, I noticed the new mulch ground cover, not by sight but smell. You see, about a dozen years ago, I had a summer job in Ann Arbor pitching and spreading mulch with another student whose name I now forget. We were landscapers that summer and the smell took me back. “Isn’t it weird that we are spreading dead bits of trees around the trunks of living trees?” my co-worker mused. Indeed…

That summer of 2004 I stayed in Ann Arbor before heading to Texas for graduate school in the fall. I would ride my motorcycle south down 23 to the Willis Rd. exit then Platt, then Judd…to Steve’s property which doubled as his house and shop. We had breakfast and a prayer before setting off for the day.

I operated the stand-up and push mowers before being assigned to mulch. Once I got it stuck in a pond. Another time I went to the wrong address. But another time a co-worker mowed one of my regulars to the dissatisfaction of the property owner and discontinued service. One day I installed rubber edging on someone’s property; it was my first time, unbeknownst to that customer.

“Shy?” Steve questioned when talking about me with another Steve, a leader in the Christian group I was in. “Scott’s not shy at all.” Ça depend.

We pitched a lot of mulch that summer. Mark also had a summer landscaping job in Petoskey at Hoffman’s. “Diggin’ up bones…”

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