A friend is preparing to sell the home in which she grew up, and though she has grieved her belated parents for some years, she is grieving in new ways. As I listened she continually referred to “my Mom’s house” and “my Dad’s yard.” Intrigued by the distinction, I asked. She explained that her dad came home from work everyday and, before changing out of his business suit, went straight to the yard to garden, to work the day out of his system as he worked beauty into the yard. She described a nothing of a yard that slowly, over years, with persistent effort, became an eye-full. She told me about the weedy hillside that separated their yard from their neighbors above them, and how her dad knocked on their door to ask if they’d mind if he landscaped the hillside – of course they didn’t, would you? And then this: her dad bought and planted one 4″ potted plant every week. One time when she bought a gallon plant her dad was aghast: “Why do you waste your money? Buy the small plant – it will grow!” As she prepares to let go of this house, this yard, my friend wants to spend her free time gardening the beds, reconnecting with her dad through the yard he loved so much. Grieving can take many forms, and this seems to be a very healthy one.
As she spoke, I was struck by the simple and profound elegance of her dad’s approach to his yard. One small inexpensive plant each week + a little time each day = a thing of real beauty over time, including the experience he shared with his kids and the memories he’s left them. How might the world be different if we each invested just a little money and time on a regular basis to make something more beautiful? How can I do this?
Things I’m thankful for this week:
- A long weekend filled with friends: time at the park, dinner with friends, a child’s birthday party, a parents-only school fundraiser, a trip to the beach with a lotta kids and dogs…
- A friend who had the book I was half-way through but couldn’t renew from the library
- Gym time
- Less at-home work and less homework this week
- Dogs who wiggle and groan when they’re happy, and time to unwind throwing a ball for a dog
- A little rain
- A decision on the kids’ Halloween costumes and a friend who had perfect-fitting accessories
- A warm and cozy home – it may look like a train wreck, but that’s evidence of full, healthy lives
- Our own weedy yard, full of potential, and a new way to think ourselves into a beautification process!