December 29, 2021
Reflections, Day 77
Look around you,
— Zoraida Rivera Morales
Stopping by the woods on a foggy morning,
I stopped to remember.
The view took me back over forty years of working as a part-time landscape developer and projects innovator on a rather large mountain property.
The lady once said, “build me a water feature—I built her a water feature—my first.
The lady said, “The pool guy died, learn how to care for a pool”—Tom and Dave at The Pool Store guided my interesting education on that matter.
The lady said, “The water in the pool is cold, please do something about it”—I got help from Doug Mather on that.
One day she said, “My daughter is getting married. Please make the front walkway spectacular.”—I planted three hundred chrysanthemums in May, nurtured them as they grew, and brought them into full bloom for the day of the wedding. It didn’t hurt, either, that the flowers were the exact same color as the bride’s and bridesmaid’s dresses.
One day Patsy said, “John, there’s a cat that has made a home in my garage. He’s eating my birds and I don’t want him around here. Please find him a home.”
For the first time in our long relationship, I said, “I’m sorry, but cat removal is not in my job description.”
I’ll never forget the look on her face. She was sitting at her desk. She pounded her forefinger on the desk (just like my gruff German father used to do) and she said, “Up here, everything is your ob description. Take care of it.”
I put the cat in a carrier and took it home with me. I told my wife that I had no idea of what to do with a cat. My wife got a funny look on her face and I asked, “Do you want to keep it?”
She nodded her head and that’s how we got to know Pat Androgynous Cat for several years. He was a wonderful pet. I never argued with the lady again.
Patsy taught me a plethora of skills simply by pointing and asking me to do something.
And back to the woods on a foggy morning. I remembered that the half-mile driveway was bordered halfway up by woods with thick, impenetrable undergrowth. With a bit of help and with carbide tipped saw blades on weed-eaters, we cleared the brush and undergrowth. Shelton Maloney brought his chipper up and it took us a week to feed the saplings and briars into the chipper and shoot them out back into the woods floor. After a few years of keeping the undergrowth down, the woods seemed to understand. That’s when the milkweed began to thrive and to call in the butterflies.
There are no pathways, retaining walls, or organized flower beds in this woods garden.
But it is a garden just the same.
And the morning’s memories were delightful.
Apologies to Robert Frost