After a week trying to make sense of a senselessly violent world, it was a gift this weekend to be able to be outside and in the warm rays of the sun. Rather than join the splashing of my child with his friends playing in the pond, I slipped on my gardening boots and crouched low as I pulled the first of many pernicious weeds that had sat and grown strong from time and neglect. The smell of the earth releasing these twisted and spindly fingers that reached far and wide triggered memories of decades ago where my dad would wake me and my six brothers and sisters up early on Summer mornings.
On these days after we rubbed the sleep out of our eyes, he would set about gathering all of the tools we would need for the day to work on the yard. Admittedly, my siblings and I would initially mumble and grumble, outraged that our day was being dictated for us, but then we would settle down as our small fleet would systematically work on clearing weeds, raking out beds, clipping hedges and digging holes for new plantings. This took many hours and my dad was gifted at finding endless tasks to keep us working.
The most glorious moments on these days was when my dad would call out to us to begin cleaning up. Despite being tired after hours of yard work, the energy would immediately rise as tools were put back into the garage with the anticipation of free time to come. The last step after cleaning, pruning and planting was for my dad to turn on the sprinkler to water the lawn. I remember these moments distinctly as we all sat bone weary watching the arc of water swaying systematically back and forth in the light and warmth of the day. My dad would stand there in front of us with his hands on his wide hips, tired as well but noticeably always gentler, calmer and more peaceful- a departure from his normally mercurial state dictated by work and weariness of wearing the weight of his world and a large family on his shoulders.
These memories re-played in my brain……..
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