How did nearly two weeks slip past? Like a dream of sunshine and breezes, dirty toes and pink noses under eyes crinkled into starbursts of joy radiant with the discovery of Spring flowers, butterflies, and bird eggs.
We have been blessed with unseasonably warm weather this past week. It would appear as though we went right from the winter that would never end to full-blown summer with temperatures in the mid 70’s all week. It has restored my faith in the universe somewhat because that little voice had started suggesting that possibly the forces that be were going to play another dirty trick on me and winter just wasn’t going to end, I had nearly forgotten what warm and green feel like. I realize that it being only the beginning of May, the weather could easily turn again; it is snowing today, which is concerning for many reasons. I can easily blanket my little nursery with a tarp. Not so for the wilderness, where we harvest strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, and apples to preserve for winter. We lost everything last year to an early warm up and a cold snap. The farmers lost their cherries as well, it was devastating, heartbreaking. God bless the farmers. We have had frost and even snow as late as early June in this area. I’m not about to put away the thermals just yet.
The girls adore being outside, which is good, because I have thrown myself headlong into taming our property. We rush through our morning chores to wait for it to warm up enough to get out in the yard. I’ve actually been hoping for a rainy day to catch up on housework and to do some writing.
The previous owners of the house created an immaculate garden filled with exotic flowers. It included an elaborate lighting and sprinkler system, as well as a water feature with not only a pond, but a waterfall and 30’ stream filled with smooth river stones. They hauled in tons of topsoil, sand and rock, and must have spent countless hours, and dollars creating and tending the garden she dreamed up. I’ve heard it was in a magazine. I have no doubt that it was magical.
Then they got a divorce.
He got the house. The pond was pulled out, the weeds were not. The property was eventually foreclosed on, and then sat empty for more than three years as the weeds took over every inch of the garden, choking out and killing all but the most hardy flowers. Then the bugs, and the fungus from the vacant lot next door moved in; poor, sad little garden.
That is how my parents found it. I know my mom thought she was going to pull a few weeds and have a beautiful garden, but that just isn’t the case. Grass has overtaken all the flowerbeds and the lawn is sparse and full of weeds, nearly every shrub and tree has been damaged by fungus and spider mites. It needed a new well, so a portion of the garden and stream bed became further inter-mingled before a pile of rough sand was dumped on top of all of it to fill the hole that had been a pond with fish. My folks got the house for a great price, because nobody in their right mind wanted to take on the problem of the ecological disaster that is that garden fallen to ruin. Yet here am I, fifteen years with my hands in the soil, time on my hands, and I once enjoyed solving problems. I see them as opportunities to be creative.
Real problems, that is, the kind that have a solution then you apply that solution in the form of labor and make things better; not the sort of problems a sociopath causes or makes up which never have a solution, or if you are able to fix it, the whole thing will likely be destroyed just to prove you wrong and knock you back down. That sort of stuff can make a person pretty hopeless, which is where I’ve been living for a while now.
A year has passed since I last interacted with him, it has taken this long to gather enough of my head-space back into focus on taking care of today, rather than trying to make sense of the insanity I went through, mourning all the loss, and being terrified of what may happen next. I’ve also had to convince my ego that the sun keeps rising and that is reason enough to believe that life continues, and spring has returned, a reminder that life renews. That gives me some peace, and hope, and with that I am able to actually produce the focus and foresight necessary to solve problems. This may be my flowery way of expressing that I may have found the will to try to live again.
My mom needs this work done, I need work to do. The process of problem solving and visualizing is good for my brain, and the physical process of going over every inch of the property, cleaning it and putting it in order feels as good as the resultant climbing into bed exhausted with aching muscles and falling to a deep, peaceful, slumber dreaming up ways to tame the garden beautifully, simply, and economically.
I suppose the property is looking better, but really, it is still a terrible mess everywhere right now. In an attempt to protect our fair complexions and in addition to the half a tube of sunscreen we have already used, I am trying to work in the shade, which is rarely in any spot long enough to truly complete a task. Did I mention the three dead shade trees? There is so much to do everywhere, I am ok with moving the whole property along at one steady pace, all areas of a garden are intimately connected after all. I like to look out the windows and see the little projects taking shape all over the yard, it is good for my self-esteem. I wake up every morning anxious to get back into it.
Did you catch that? I wake up anxious for the good that I will accomplish that day, instead of anxious over things that might come up. This is much more like the person I was before, and I am thankful to find that bit of myself still exists and find peace nurturing it, as I nurture this piece of the planet.