We’re having another of those moments where the sky is blue, the sun blinding, and the air so mild that fleece sweatpants and a turtleneck under the tee-shirt are almost too much.
So the guy who helps with my yardwork turned up to do some long-discussed brush clearing, trash hauling, and felling of small trees. (Totally blowing my January “minimalist” budget, but that’s another story.) Twice this week he and a couple of grubby kids (one of whom is his daughter-in-law, a tough bundle of charm) have crawled down the slope across the road and dug in. They’ve attacked noxious giant weeds (which my beekeeping neighbors won’t let me poison if I want to keep peace in the valley). They’ve taken down and heaped up small, malformed trees. They’ve hauled out every sort of trash, from microwaves and broken toilets to dozens of bags of cat poop.
The cat poop is also another story. Later perhaps. But you get the idea what it’s like over there.
I really like this guy. He’s just somebody I spotted on the street last summer with a trailer full of mowing equipment. I gave him my address and asked him to come take a look. He could have been a psycho killer for all I knew. I was just desperate. But he came over right away and he’s been the yard guy of my dreams. Reliable. Knowledgeable. Very reasonably priced.
I must admit it amuses me, and slightly humiliates me, to have a yard guy. It makes me feel like I’m some Beverly Hills housewife lounging by the pool while Miguel trims the oleander hedge — which is pretty embarrassing when I had to hold a beg-a-thon for my roof last summer (and oh my, did you respond!) But the truth is, the days when I wanted to push a mower (which I don’t even have) across a half-acre lawn or (worse) stand amid broken bottles and old tires whacking weeds on a steep slope that’s been used as a household dump since the Depression … well, those days never were. And certainly are not now that I’m Ms SilverHair.
So please allow me this one indulgence.
Anyhow, the cheerful, roll-your-own-ciggies, don’t-smell-like-Irish-Spring yard crew are clearing not only my yard, but my view. Which is exciting. The view itself is no big deal; just a salt marsh and some low, dark hills that I could walk to if the swamp weren’t in the way. Still, it’s fun to watch it emerge.
Actually, right now they’re obscuring it as fast as they uncover it, heaping cuttings in 10-foot-tall stacks. A pair of bonfires is in the future (a prospect that makes me very nervous, given the proximity of neighbors’ houses). But after those … oh boy.
Anyhow, once again it occurs to me that despite my born-to-depression temperament, despite freedom being carried to hell in a statist handbasket, despite being a hermitty semi-curmudgeon, I don’t have a bad life.
I’m not rich and I’ve barely made it to the borders of semi-hemi-demi-quasi-pseudo famous. I don’t have any great talents and I’ve wasted the ones I might have had. I missed out on the One Great Love. Didn’t get born into the happy family (but then, who did?). I work hard mainly because I’m secretly lazy. Sometimes I’d like to be able to quit being so freakin’ reliable and responsible.
But given all that, I have it amazingly good.
This house is more work than I imagined it would be. And that despite the fact that its problems were plain to see. And I’ve done this before so I should know better. But I love the results. I love the funky little cottage it’s eventually going to turn into. I love being on a hill amid the greenery. Once that slope across the road is cleared and we’ve built a path and stairway down to the edge of the wetland, I’ll be able to put up a little covered bench and be able to watch blue herons, mornings and evenings.
I may have lost one local friend to a cruel form of cancer and another to just the kind of things that go wrong between friends but I’ve got you amazing people. And the community I’m in is friendly, helpful, and a good place to go networking and volunteering. It’s just a scruffy little half-dead town like so many in the middle of nowhere, but it’s cute and it has lots of cool places. I can walk to the post office, library, bank, waterfront, grocery store, several restaurants, and a very atmospheric espresso place. (This is, after all, the Northwest. Even towns that are nothing more than a gas station, a post-office-in-the-back-of-the-grocery-store, and maybe a few barns have espresso places.)
So yes, all things considered, this is a pretty darned amazingly amazing good life.
I should remind myself of that the next time I wake up and don’t want to get out of bed.