ephemeral beauty (9/30)

April 10, 2018

poetry 9-30 E-ephemeral

white, pink, blue, purple

when you’re fresh you’re beautiful

freshness is fleeting




I’ve written before about how much I like to sit outside on my front steps with a tasty adult beverage (which in my case will be beer, ninety-eight per cent of the time). And since I moved in years ago, my tasty beverage-enjoying has been sheltered from the sun god by a lovely, thick maple tree.

It’s true, I have been known to disparage this tree because it’s the largest and fullest tree of the three in our yard. In the almost seven years that I have lived here, I have often wished that my little garden area got more sunlight which it would, if the maple weren’t so full and wonderfully developed.

You know what they say—be careful what you wish for. Three weeks ago, two-thirds of this magnificent tree was sacrificed for clearance of overhead power lines.

If I look only at the extra sunlight my poor garden plants now get, then it seems like a suitable trade-off. But if I look at the tree itself, then my eyes melt. I wasn’t exaggerating when I said two-thirds. I happened to walk out the door to go to work at the same time the tree-trimmers were milling about in my front yard assessing the situation.

“This isn’t good. The branches are growing straight up.”

“I’m not going to sugarcoat it—it’s going to be ugly when you get back.”

And thus it was. The tree is a shadow if its former self (unintentional pun intended). I haven’t even taken a picture of the carnage so I can’t show you, but use your imagination based on what I’ve said. I do know, though, that it has been better for my potted tomatoes.



So for five years I’ve had these round pavers, languishing in stacks in front of my place, waiting for the whim to overtake me to make them into a path. My new upstairs neighbor bugged me all last summer to do it and I coyly demured. The last thing I want is to be told when to do something, or for it to seem like I’m doing something because somebody suggested it. Today, I finally got in the mood naturally and, thankfully, without any helpers.

Our section of yard was the only one without some sort of little path. Five summers ago I lugged home nine round stones from Home Depot. I wasn’t ready to actually labor that day so I set them aside and there they stayed. I originally measured taking into account having space in between each one. Soon after I decided I didn’t want space between them. I never went back to buy the two or three extra stones. But in the intervening years, I’ve found two flat, square pieces of concrete or something that will do.

Yesterday, the bug nudged its way into my pants and I laid the stones out. At work I’m doing a book about gardening and one of the tips for making pathways is to lay the stones down and let them kill whatever’s underneath so you’ll know how much space to clear. I put them down, pretty sure that I was just going to dig everything up. I don’t want grass in between.


Today, I  grabbed the hoe and went to it. I was quite pleased indeed that it didn’t take long at all to dig up the grass, less than an hour. However, a little while later, my thumbs of all things got tired from the impact of all the hoeing. Even now, they’re feeling pretty weak.  Nevertheless, the speed with which I cleared the grass kept me enthusiastic about the project.


I had a supervisor (Dasie).


After I started embedding the stones in the dirt and it became apparent that the rest of the job would not go as quickly, I broke out the beer.


After about three hours, the stones were fairly snugly set with dirt repacked around them. The trouble with the project that you can’t see is that the stones kind of rise and fall due to unhackable large roots of the maple tree in the yard. There were two. I straddled one, but a stone had to sit on the other one to maintain the spacing. Oh well.


Then I decide that another phase of the project needed to be moving the little rock border forward. So I did that. Then I decided, after four hours, that I was done for the day. Or rather, my body decided for me. I think I’ll get some impatiens to put in the newly-vacated space.


I had planned to wait to grill until tomorrow, but it suddenly seemed like a good idea. I had package of pork country style ribs thawed and ready to go.


It was a good decision. It was a delicious meal with which to reward all my hard work. I was, however, a little concerned that I wouldn’t be able to move again once I sat down.


I took some ibuprofen eventually and that really helped. But then I got the best comfort (CJ)!

Fake plastic cat

May 23, 2011


About a year after I bought my place, my mom gave me this plastic cat lawn ornament. I have amassed quite a few rabbit nick-nacks but I have always made it clear that I don’t want to get into collecting cat things. Every now and then, though, my mom breaks that rule if she finds something that reminds her of one of my cats. Such was this lawn ornament when it sported its original coat of black paint.

In the intervening years, the black paint has worn off and I’m left with a tacky orange cat. Neither of my cats is orange. I wish I could say that I keep it around because I can’t bear to throw away something that was lovingly given to me by my mother who only had the best intentions, a thing which, every time she visits, she makes sure is looking into my window so that she can see it when she sits in my rocking chair.

But I can’t say that. I just haven’t gotten around to “relocating” it yet. So for the time being I will hope that nobody rolls their eyes too hard when they notice it.