Where once there was a garden there was now an empty plot of land. The garden beds had been removed one by one, the screws backed out, the wood stacked in a dump trailer, the bottom wood ripped and torn and disintegrated by years of water and carpenter ants from the gopher wire below, the water lines cut and thrown away. The huge mounds of dirt and compost and old roots pushed and pulled and flattened by an enormous tractor until the space looked like nothing more than a large plot of dirt awaiting a horse perhaps.
From the kitchen window she no longer looked out upon boxes of dashed hopes and frustrated dreams but upon a what could be a sea of wildflowers come spring or a dirt track for her kids mountain bikes or a field of sunflowers, bright faces turning towards her as the day progressed. It was a relief, a major project tackled and completed and emotionally freeing one at that. She couldn’t imagine the house painting to be nearly as rewarding, nor the expansion of the chicken coop and the remodeling of the kitchen was nothing more than an expensive nightmare looming over her shoulder.
She was oddly excited about painting though. She was surprised as she wasn’t particularly good at it, not the taping off of a room, not the brush strokes nor the roller strokes, not even the choosing of the paint color which came far before any of that. Still, the idea of painting filled her with joy. Something about bringing a space new life, maybe…or making the space more hers, even as she prepared it for someone else. She shrugged, whatever it was she was most excited to tackle that next, but it was too cold now. The paint would take days upon days to dry rather than a few hours and with children about that simply wouldn’t do.
She considered paying someone else to come in and do the painting, taking the kids camping for a week and coming home to a new interior. Not a bad idea, really, except that as much as she wanted to paint next, the kitchen really needed to be seen to. The appliances were thirty years old or more and no longer worked properly or at all and the old porcelain sink always looked yellow-white even after a good scrubbing, and the tile countertops really dated the place. But there was no such thing as a cheap kitchen remodel, and the amount of money she knew would need to go into it was depressing. The idea of spending money on a place that wasn’t going to be hers anymore…ugh.
What it really came down to, and what she’d been trying to avoid, were the emotions. She loved the house even as she hated it. She had made many memories here, her dog had died here and was buried on the property next to a goat that had also died there. She’d birthed both babies in the back bedroom, despite the midwife’s fears and her own that they’d be delivered in the bathroom because she absolutely refused to move from the toilet for so long, it provided the perfect position for transition. She’d fallen in love with her husband under the oak by the barn. She’d married her husband at the foot of the rock stairs in front of the house. She’d come face to face with a mountain lion in front of the massive oak at the turn of the driveway, and she’d seen many a bobcat sunning themselves out the backdoor.
She was ready to leave, ready to move on to the next adventure, but she also wanted to take these things with her and feared a different location would be the beginning of the memories’ fade. And so subconsciously she delayed the big projects until she realized what she was doing, until she realized she was holding up her future for her past. Once the realization hit her there was no holding her back. Five minutes before she had to leave? Plenty of time to take a few screws out of the garden. Twenty minutes before she had to start dinner? Plenty of time to haul a few pieces of wood out of the garden. The garden became the thing she worked on any time she had time to work. And then it was done. And it was amazing.
To keep the momentum going she felt she had to tackle the next project right away. Get moving on whatever it would be as quickly as possible. Only she didn’t know what the next project should be, there were too many to choose from, and many of them would require planning, planning she couldn’t necessarily do because she didn’t have the knowledge. She’d found that out the hard way in destroying the garden space. There were things she knew how to do: use a drill, remove screws, stack old lumber in a dump trailer, cut off plastic piping, fold up old chicken wire and gopher wire. But then she got to a point where she had to figure out more intricate things like: closing off the electrical and water, and flattening the dirt from the beds.
It’s one thing to start an outdoor project when you’re not sure how to finish it, it doesn’t affect your day-to-day life, but to start an indoor project when you’re not sure how to start it or finish it, that could be disastrous. And so she simply froze. She looked down at the space that was once a garden and felt buoyed, felt strong and happy and satisfied. And she decided to just enjoy that feeling for awhile. No need to take on more than she could chew with another project when the glow of achievement hadn’t even worn off the last project yet.
She chose to be lazy. She embraced it. Knowing the time would come soon enough when she would be enmired in the next big project, she simply appreciated the now.
~~~That’s one hour~~~