Peat Bomb

After a day of gardening in the hot sun–turning over soil, spreading compost, pulling out weeds–I drove to Naples to buy four bales of peat moss.  I wanted 3.8 cubic foot bales, large, unwieldy and quite heavy it wet.  I paid inside the store, declined the clerk’s offer to “give you a hand with those”, and exited to the yard.  There was one stack of bales, taller than me, and they were stuck together from being wrapped tightly for shipping.  I could barely reach the nearest bale in the top row and couldn’t get purchase on the smooth plastic to lift or pull it towards me.  Maybe I could have walked behind the pile and pushed up on the bale to free it, but that would have required walking around all of the other piles of compost, top soil, and other bagged items that lined the edge of the yard.  I reached again, as far as I could, and grabbed a loose plastic flap on one side of the bale.  I pulled it and the bale moved a few inches.  I pulled again and angled the bale to the edge of the pile.  I pulled one more time, thinking the bale would slide off the pile into my waiting arms.  The flap gave, pulling its companion flaps with it.  The bale ripped open, spilling 1/4 of its contents–that would be .95 cubic feet–on my head, in my face, down my throat, in my shirt, on my arms, in my pants, down my legs, and into my shoes.   A cloud of superfine dried peat enveloped me, like Pig Pen from Charlie Brown.  I sputtered, coughed, wiped peat from my eyes, blew my nose, and shook out my shirt and pants.  I  turned around, expecting other customers to be laughing at my folly.  No one noticed.  Finally I wrestled four bales into the truck from the pile’s grip, started the truck, and drove away, unimaginably dirty and uncomfortable.

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