Unplanned reflective moments are the best

>> Saturday, January 8, 2011

Some days are for reflecting, either by design or by accident. This morning, Saturday, my wife and I had planned to drive to our apartment building, some thirty miles away, to prepare three vacant apartments for rental. They only need painting and some minor cleaning. But the weather and a touch of apathy conspired to prevent these plans from materializing. I honestly can’t say I’m disappointed. Maybe that’s just the apathy talking, but this morning just feels like it should be a lazy day.

Besides, there have been two recent deaths at the apartments lately, and it’s still a bit depressing to go there. Let me explain. One of the tenants, a really nice couple with two children gave birth to their third child four and a half months ago. The child was a preemie and struggled every day to stay alive. Well she finally lost that struggle just before Christmas. Never did come home. The parents are understandably quite broken up about it but their faith and friends have helped them deal with it.

The other death was a tenant who moved in with his newly wed wife two months ago. He had been diagnosed with cancer and was told he had a good chance of beating it. Three weeks later he died.

These sorts of things are never pleasant, obviously, but for them to happen at this time of year, just before Christmas, just seems especially difficult.

So, wordlessly, we both decided that perhaps we will stay at home, and after the hectic schedule of the past few weeks, I think we both need it.
Over the years I have nurtured this attitude about Saturdays. It is the day most people set aside for running errands, grocery shopping and the like, and perhaps because I don’t care for crowds, I have always purposefully avoided that day for shopping.

Since I am retired, there really is no need for a scheduled time to do anything anyway, so I choose early in the day during the work week. I never have a problem finding things I would rather do, having always been able to entertain myself, such as going through a backlog of garden catalogs, reading fiction, organizing photos, drawing or anything else that can be viewed, mistakenly I might add, as guilty pleasures. In my retirement years those guilty pleasures have become quite important to my well-being, thank you very much.

One of my daily routines is feeding the birds, a minor activity taking very little time really. This activity usually takes all of about 10 minutes and I typically choose to do it after dark when there are no birds sitting around waiting to be fed. Last night was one of those times when it just felt too darned cold to go outside so the feeders remained empty until this morning. By 9 am the temp had not broken 20F but as my guilt was getting the better of me, out into the cold I went, with large scoops of black oil sunflower seeds to fill the feeders. There were no birds in sight, perhaps they felt it too cold to leave their warm spaces as well. But, within minutes of filling the feeders the birds came and began feeding.

While I was going out anyway, it seemed a likely time to take a few photos. These are the result. While looking through the lens finder I saw in my mind the path I have been thinking about for awhile now. It probably should be a bit more twisty-turny but as it stands now it is very utilitarian. Made with a snow shovel the path stands out very clearly with all that grass poking through. One of my fears in committing to a walkway design is that it will look like an ‘X’ across the yard, running from one corner to the opposite in  both diagonals. This doesn’t appeal to me at all. So I will need to think on it a little longer and will probably come up with a something which will probably add a few extra steps. While plants are growing and there is a lot to look at, a few ‘extra’ steps is not a problem. But when it is as cold out as it is today, a few extra steps is not welcome. I can just see me using that snow shovel to make the same path you see in this picture regardless of how the true path actually runs.

If I build the islands I want, then I won’t have a choice, but until then it looks like utilitarian and the shortest distance will win out.


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