The moment of joy I related last month was a fun one — seeing the smiles and looks of confusion on my loved-ones’ faces after a hard-fought battle to present them with a secret surprise. This month was a hectic, emotional roller coaster. Instead of telling one story, I’d like to mention a few simple pleasures that brought a smile to my face over the last four busy weeks.
The tiny baby chickens we bought this spring are adorably feathered-out and testing their new wings. The twinkle in my daughter’s eyes and the giggle on her lips makes me smile as I watch the chicks fly up and down from the ground to her lap and shoulders. Their antics are comical as they stretch up and flap their wings, run in excitement with their heads near the ground like tiny race cars, and chase each other in circles to steal whatever worm or treat one of them finds.
There is a lady I’ve known for years, and though I have tried many different approaches, I have never been able to develop a real friendship with her. I have made deeper connections with her sister and a couple of other family members, but had resigned myself to the fact that she would always keep me at arm’s length. I guess some people never “click” as friends.
Well, this seemingly-shy lady has begun to step out of her comfort zone to reach out and make connections with more people. After soliciting help from myself and a few other ladies, she has even organized us into having a monthly get-together in order to spend more time together and become closer friends. Our first meeting is later this week, and I’m looking forward to learning more about these great women. There’s always room for a few more friends to bring joy to my life.
The cool of the morning feels refreshing on my skin as I step onto the back steps early in the morning. I look up to see clouds floating gently by. Robins, cardinals, sparrows, and mocking birds make background music as they feed their first sets of fledglings for this year.
I tiptoe across the grass and step over the short fence which surrounds my garden, while the thick layer of wood mulch keeps me from sinking into the sodden clay soil. What a wet spring we have had this year! While others watch from a distance as their berries rot beyond the soggy, tilled soil, I patter around the mulched paths of my no-till garden enjoying a tasty breakfast of fresh strawberries and sugar snap peas. This is such a pleasant way to start the day!
On a day when the ground is (almost) dry enough (for a change), I break out the riding mower to manage our growing jungle of a yard before it gets tall enough to require a crew with a bush hog and hay bailer. Round after round the grass is slowly beaten down to a manageable height (I say “beaten” because the blades are too dull at the moment to actually cut anything).
As I approach the large trees in the middle of our backyard, I cast a longing glance toward my hammock that I have not had time to enjoy so far this year. Refocusing my attention, I carefully steer across a section of the 200 foot ditch I dug through our yard several years ago in a desperate attempt to turn half an acre of part-time pond into a usable lawn.
Suddenly I realize I am no longer moving, but am sitting in the middle of the ditch tilted over to one side! After a second of shock, I remember to turn off the blade and assess the situation. There in the ditch, lying peacefully under my beloved hammock, is the front wheel of the lawnmower.
“What?!” I think to myself. “Lawn mower wheels don’t just fall off! This is something that happens in cartoons; this doesn’t happen in real life!”
I go into the house to gather tools; and after a loud wrestling match involving a wooden board, a crowbar, a heavy jack, and the much heavier riding mower machine, I manage to securely reattach the wheel. All the while, I’m trying to be very careful not to re-injure my back that I hurt two weeks earlier when I fell on the concrete steps to our back door.
As I’m packing up the tools and equipment, my neighbor calls across the fence to ask if I’m having trouble. Though he’s in his 70s, he also has never heard of a riding mower wheel deciding to leap off its axle and take a break.
I tell him the unusual things I did to get the wheel back on without hurting my back and how he had missed the great show I had put on for the neighbors when I bounced down the back steps and then shuffled around in slow motion for over a week. He told me to call him first next time so he would not miss out on the entertainment. Aah, my sweet, sympathetic neighbors. Lol We have amused them a lot over the years with the crazy things that go on in our yard.
To sum up this growing story…I finish mowing the lawn and go inside the house to enjoy a cool glass of water. When I step into the living room, there’s my daughter with books spread all over the couch, taking notes from her science book in preparation for her upcoming test.
It warms my heart to have a trustworthy child who will work independently. She can tell that I’m going to be outside for hours, but she continues to work without me checking on her. She knows exactly where the answer keys to her tests are in the filing cabinet in the other room, but she never touches them because she realizes that what’s important to me is the process of learning, not just grades.
I smile at her and praise her efforts as I think to myself, “Next week, I think it will be her turn to mow the grass…”