Written on 9/22/2020
Well, last week I was upset by events, overtaken by anger. But that is unsustainable every day and today is all about a bit of grass.
Just over a week ago, it was six months, almost to the day, that so many of our lives were first turned upside down by COVID-19. It was Friday, March 13th (Friday the 13th!) that at the end of a day’s work as a substitute teacher, I was told the school was closed for the rest of the year, due to COVID-19. I came home, relieved, and pleased at the thought of extra time off, figuring there would be two or three weeks of isolation and life would go on. By the end of March, we all knew that was not to be the case. And now the sad reality: six months and 200,000 dead. The mind and the heart cringe to look at it. So, just for today, I don’t. I look instead at a patch of green.
Outside the house where I live, there is a large front yard, just dirt, and several rose bushes. All this on a hill. It’s lovely, but it is not mine to enjoy or transform into a garden.
I live around back, you see, up a back staircase, in a second-floor apartment. Outside my door, there is no lawn or garden, just a driveway and a garage (it was once a carriage house). Behind the wooden staircase to my door is a flimsy little wooden deck and beyond that, along the side of the house, is a little fenced-in patch of ground that gets no sun, and is sheltered (and always shaded) by my house and the one next door.
Last Spring (it seems so long ago) I took it into my head to fix up the deck (it was falling apart) and plant grass in the fenced-in patch of dirt. I would put a hammock on the grass, so when I lay there I’d look up past the two houses to a view of the tops of green trees, white clouds, and blue sky.
A hammock became my fantasy, my bridge to a better past, not just last year (which was wonderful enough compared to the present) but decades ago to a grassy yard by the sea, my grandparents’ summer home, with a hammock on a hill, where children could play after dazzling days at the beach. My lost paradise.
Lacking skills to accomplish my vision, I enlisted my roommate—who grew up on a farm—to help. He was able to shore up the wooden deck and install a gate off the deck to the patch of ground. With his expert advice, I gradually obtained fertilizer and sod, and today, at long last, the sod has been laid and soaked.
By the weekend, the hammock will have found its home. With a card table, and a couple of chairs, I will soon have a place for outdoor socializing and I look forward, deeply, to inviting friends for a visit—the first time in six long months.
It is amazing, isn’t it? We learn to live with hard truths, not because we are strong, really, but because we have no choice. And to life as it comes, we adjust.