September 8th, 2008
Blue jays waking up the neighborhood. Loud squawks from treetops. Sounding through crisp morning air. Autumn heavy in the bones this morning. Feels like jeans, work boots, and flannel sleeves today. But it is only morning. The big hot dot will rise high enough to burn off the dew, heat the pavement, and before long it'll be another warm one in the Garden City.
Yard work this weekend. Transplanting rosebushes. Trimming and cutting down trees and vines. All three of us working together. Satisfied with helping one another. Little Man carrying leaves, small branches and sticks to the compost pile. S.B. wielding a hand saw and snips. Me digging deep around the big rosebush. Battling thorns and rock hard ground. Then into the thickest part of the vines and trees. Those growing along, on top of, and through the chain link fence. Cutting and sawing. Pulling and removing as much of it as possible without damaging the fence or getting debris in the neighbor's yard.
“You never liked doing this before,” said S.B.. “Why now?”
She was snapping branches of a felled tree. Breaking them down to fit in our fire pit. Her long thin arms tan and strong in the late afternoon sunlight.
“I've always liked doing it. I just haven't.”
“I know. I remember the end story in Landscaping.”
I smiled. Was happy that something I'd written had touched her enough so that she remembered. Especially now. Us together. Working on a yard of our own.
“Good old Landscaping,” I said. “Yep, when I lived alone at my old place, I didn't care much for doing this sort of thing.”
“You wrote how you let everything go wild. Let Nature take its course.”
I pulled off my gloves. Wiped the sweat from my forehead.
“Now, it matters. I like doing it. For you, for us. When I lived alone, I didn't care if the lawn was kept up, if the driveway was plowed. Now, I does. I have people to take care of. I don't want them slipping and falling on ice. Don't want them getting eaten alive by mosquitoes living in tall grass.”
She smiled. Went back to the branches. I looked around the yard. Dogs sniffing around the fence line. Cat sleeping under a tree. Little Man putting sticks into a pile.
Finally, I thought. Finally, I am here.
It's the best place I've ever been. So much possibility. For all of us.
The big sun higher now. Blue jays joined by sparrows. Dew glistening. Neighborhood waking and alive. Another blessed day in the Garden City.
(copyright © 2008 by K.J. Stevens)