Kickass, the doorstop dog, living with the keeper and Phyllis on the hilltop oak savannah, tries to roll with the punches, the keeper, not so much. So he—the keeper, having interceded 20 years ago when invasive plants had the savannah on its last legs—or limbs, wages an annual onslaught to fight back buckthorn, mulberry, Siberian elm, sumac and every other woody invader. Yesterday, for example, in this season of explosive growth of everything, he struggled up the side hill with brush nippers and made just barely a dent in the juggle growing there. Exhausted, winded and overwrought, he finally quit and looked up at one of the remaining big oaks which seemed to be losing its leaves in a botanical death spiral. The keeper gave a talk to the tree: “Come on you ragged old SOB. Don’t even think of where you are on the great cycle of life. Good things are happening on your behalf so enjoy the ride.” There was a strange echo and the keeper found himself listening to his own speech. He put the brush nippers away and went in to give Phyllis a kiss.