Monday, May 23, 2011

Perspective and a Perfect Day

Yesterday, I spent much of my day outside, working in the gardens through the rain... cleaning up the yard, my socks squish-squashing with each step - rainwater inside my shoes... going back and forth between pulling the sleeves of my damp sweatshirt down over my hands to keep warm and stripping down to my tank-top in the sun with damp, curly, wind-blown hair falling in my face as I shoveled, transplanted, weeded, and raked mulch. ...and do you know what? It was a fantastic day... for me.

Today is Monday. It's rainy and humid, I have a headache, I'm overtired, and my refrigerator needs to be cleaned out (I know - random). For some reason, I feel like complaining. Yes, I who didn't have tornadoes rip through my city, tearing apart the homes of my friends and family, leaving families searching for lost loved ones, their place of business destroyed, their bank destroyed, their grocery store destroyed, their vehicle missing, their home missing, their child missing. What do I have to complain about? Nothing really. 

It's all perspective. Last night, as we finished eating dinner... a picnic-y summer meal of grilled hot dogs, wavy potato chips with cottage cheese for dipping, dill pickles, and grapes... I started thinking through a blog post I wanted to write. I wanted to write about the day in a way that anyone who might read it would understand - would feel - the content I felt after working outside all day. I talked through it in my head. I mumbled what I would say as I washed up the supper dishes, listening to Gavin giggling in the bathtub as Cliff tickled and played bath time games with him. I had so much to share. I wanted to write it all. Not that so much happened in my yard yesterday, just that so much was felt. In my mind, my psyche, my heart, a lot happened yesterday.

I didn't get a chance last night to write it. This morning, my perspective had changed. Like I said, today was Monday, so rather than getting to stay home and enjoy my family, I went to work. Rather than work in the dirt, I prepared for a meeting of 120 patient care managers, sat at a computer, and led 15 new employees through online mandatory training. My hands still look like I've been gardening, but my mind is no longer at ease. My biggest worry is no longer, "what's for dinner?" Like I said, I'm overtired and my head hurts. I'm just not myself today.  

Yesterday, while people's lives were forever being changed for the worse, while storms ravaged our state, and others, I happily filled my birdfeeders, had coffee with a girl friend, went to a antique and yard sale with my sister and my friend, gardened, watched my little boy play in his sandbox, and watched the hummingbirds flit around my yard carelessly. I watched the storms roll by, dousing my yard once in a while, but mostly just drizzling. We eventually decided to work through the rain. It seemed that by the time we got back into the house and got our shoes off, the rain had stopped anyway and we were heading back outside, so it wasn't really worth stopping for those short rainy spells. Gavin played in his sandbox in the drizzle, shielded slightly by the screen porch above him. I stood just outside of the shelter of the screen porch, in the rain, to push him on the swing. Only his feet were getting rained on, since the swing hangs from the underside of the screen porch and his feet only stick out in to the yard when he is in full swing. It didn't matter anyway. His socks were sopping wet, his pants were sopping wet, his shoes were like little sponges, soaking up every drop of water. He laughed and giggled and played. 

I'm trying desperately to coax back the perspective I had yesterday, the overwhelming feeling of appreciation that made me want to blog about it so badly. Instead, as I write, I just keep hearing myself repeat the same things over and over. 

I'm going to just keep writing and be sure not to repeat the things I've already said...

Yesterday morning I woke up with a smile on my face. It was early, really early. 

I had been out to dinner Saturday night for just a couple of hours with my girl friend for her birthday and got home around 10:30. Gavin was sleeping over at Grandma & Grandpa's, and I didn't know what to do with myself in the house all alone. So, I started sorting and organizing. Yes, silly I know. It was around 11:00 at night and I was sorting through and putting away clothes and making a pile for the Goodwill. Around 12:30am or so, Cliff pulled into the driveway. He had come home a day early from his fishing trip, (or at least 12 hours early anyway). He'd been gone for four days, so we had a lot of catching up to do. We finally crawled into bed some time after 1:30. The windows and doors in the house were all open and the fresh spring air was coming in. Our bedroom was chilly, but the bed was warm. 

I woke up to bright sunlight streaming in the windows in my room. I smiled. It had rained most of Saturday and just when the sun finally came out it was time for me to leave for dinner. I missed the sunshine. A sunny Sunday morning was just what the doctor ordered. I looked at the clock...  5:00am. Gavin was at Grandma and Grandpa's and I was awake at 5:00am? Impossible! I snuggled down into the covers and closed my eyes, hoping to fall back to sleep. At 6:30, I was still laying there, listening to the birds sing outside, reveling in the sunshine warming the bed. My friend C was planning on coming over for coffee and I was looking forward to it. I wondered what time I would hear from her. I had set the "delay brew" timer on the coffee maker and listened to hear if it had started brewing yet. I closed my eyes again, knowing full well that I wouldn't actually be able to go back to sleep. I had slept less than four hours and yet, the sun was out and I couldn't wait for a fun, sun-shiny day. At 7:30 I got her text, "Are you up yet?"

"Yay!" As much as I wanted to go back to sleep, I knew that I couldn't and I was excited for her visit. She is always great company and is content to do whatever I am doing that day, whether it's playing with Gavin, cooking, gardening, or just sitting on the couch drinking coffee. Okay, okay, so I don't really ever just sit on the couch and drink coffee unless I have a friend over. So, having her is a great excuse to do just that. By the time she got to my house at 9:00am, the sunshine was gone, and it was cold and rainy. What? More rain? More cold? It rained off and on all day, but it turned out to be a great day. We spent the morning in the house, chatting over coffee, enjoying spinach and feta scrambled eggs, playing with Gavin, and talking about all of the sewing and craft projects we both want to try.

My sister came over and the three of us drove over to "Our Neighbor's Old Barn Sale" just down the road. She sells nice old (not too fancy) antique furniture, dishes, household items, farm items, and linens as well as garden art, plants, and lots of other fun artsy creations in the farm yard and barn. The off and on rain kept us on our toes. We had a couple of little sprinkles and were talking about how we should make our way toward the barn before it really started to rain and all of a sudden we were in a torrential downpour and ran into the nearest little shed to take cover! We huddled in there for 10 minutes or so until it stopped and then wandered back out into the yard. 

We came home to lunch already prepared for us! Cliff had stayed home with Gavin and my nephew Nathan, with plans to dig out the bazillion gargantuan mutant dandelions from the vegetable garden, but they got rained out after just a few minutes and instead spent the hour we were gone in the house. Cliff made pasta with red sauce for lunch and had it ready when we came home.  How sweet was that! 

After Gavin was down for his nap, my friend C and I headed outside to tackle a gardening project. Throughout the entire morning I had been suggesting projects... "we should sand and paint my clothesline posts", "we should thin out the wildflower bed on the end of the shed and send some plants home with you", "we should try sewing one of those dolls I've been telling you I wanted to make", "we should plant the golden raspberries that my sister brought over for me", "we should glue this felt flower together and see what we think? We could make a bunch of them", "we should plant these grasses that I have sitting in the pots", "we should plant these Ranuculus bulbs"...and on and on...

...until she and Cliff both said, "you should pick just one project and get started"

They think they're so smart!

Well, we did. We decided to go outside and start thinning out the wildflower bed on the end of the shed. Then it started raining again, so we moved up to the front porch and she planted my Rununculus in my pots under the shelter of the front porch roof while I planted the potted grasses in my new flower bed out front (pictures coming soon). We both quickly gave up on staying dry and headed out into the rain. On a rainy afternoon during Gavin's naptime, we accomplished quite a bit! 

 - thinned out crazy prolific purple flowers in wildflower bed
 - dug out misplaced poppies and potted them up for C to take home
 - dug out a few black-eyed susans for C to replace the ones that didn't come back at her house
 - planted Ranunculus in pots on front steps 
 - transplanted some plants (mostly hostas) from current front-west flower bed to new front-east flower bed
 - planted potted Flowering Almond from Mom's yard (Mom always called this May Rose, but I think May Rose is different)
 - planted potted golden currant from Hermy   
 - weeded out random baby elm trees, dandelions and other weeds from wildflower bed
 - planted basil from kitchen window in herb pot on front porch
 - cleared burn weed (stinging nettle) from between old fenceposts to make a spot for raspberries
 - planted golden raspberries from my sister
 - removed landscape logs from around wildflower garden and put them away in shed

After C went home and Gavin got up from nap, we had a hefty snack (fresh cheese curds, wheat crackers, grapes, and cucumber slices) since I knew it was quite possible that we'd be outside all evening. When we went back outside around 5:00, we:

 - filled bird feeders (this requires a tall ladder as they hang from the soffit on the house) 
 - rinsed out and re-filled bird baths (thanks Gavin)
 - dug out hummingbird feeders from shed so I can wash and fill them
 - pulled burn-weed (not all of it) from black raspberry patch in old fencerow

I pushed Gavin on his swing for a while, he played in the sandbox, he watered the mud, he played in the mud, he played in the water, he soaked his rain-soaked pants even more with the hose. The sunset was breathtaking, the air was fresh and damp and cool, we had accomplished so much, our pantlegs and socks and shoes were soggy and muddy. I just wanted to stop and savor the moment, the day.

Cliff started up the grill and by 8:15, we were having dinner, looking out at what we accomplished, breathing the wonderful fresh air that was filling the house through all of the open windows and doors!  What a day.


Big Sis said...

I am so glad you found the words you were looking for. You remind all of us not to take things for granted and to appreciate the blessings we have around us, both in our family and friends and our surroundings. How wonderful to have a day of rejuvination!

april said...