Delights: April 29 to May 5

April 29: Kevin and I stepped off the curb for an evening walk. A young couple holding hands rounded the corner in our direction. I saw, against the man’s chest, what was either a reddish brown softball or the head of a tiny baby. But I saw no holder, no straps, no sling. 

We got closer. “New baby?” Yes, three weeks old. “Is your shirt going that?”

Sure enough, the dad’s t-shirt was sewn with an enormous tight deep (matching) pocket across the chest. The newborn snuggled contentedly. Kevin and I smiled contentedly too.

April 30: Thanks to a woeful conflation of circumstances (imagine an undetected leak), I found myself surrounded by piles of my old clothes. Fancy tops, Easter suits, too-tight trousers. Five feet of clothes that I never wore; eight inches of clothes that I did. 

And buried at the bottom of the closet I found my old fencing gear: gloves, jacket, foil and helmet. Twenty years ago, I chose fencing as my exercise. I attended an academy, learned to lunge, parry and feint, and even competed in a tournament. (Source of pride: I scored one “touch” against the eventual champion.) And then I put my foil away, except for appearing in full regalia one more time — at Nate’s first grade gym class. 

Hmmm. Let me check to see if the first grade school is looking for a substitute PE teacher next week…

If you go to the right hardware store, you’ll find rubber gloves, scrub brushes, extension cords — and crab pots. I purchased only the first three.

May 1: As I drove past miles of new fields cloaked in possibility, I thought of my morning devotional. This week’s reflection invites us to turn “apparently inconsequential” objects, events and encounters “into an experience of hope and delight.” (Patrick Kavanagh, No Earthly Estate) Kavanagh talked about a mindset that finds the sacred everywhere. 

A friend today described her own wonder and gratitude after a week filled with God sightings. I understood. Whether awestruck by impossibly yellow fields or by a female duck stopping you in your tracks and gazing straight into your eyes, I kind of like a mystical view of the world. The sacred is everywhere, if I just pay attention.

May 2: Ok, I have a tendency to clench my jaw and hammer my teeth closed, especially when I’m “efforting.” (My yoga teacher uses that word; I like how it captures the shadow side of trying.) I “effort” nearly all the time, especially when I’m tugging at weeds.

This morning, I followed the shade around the garden and tugged at a lot of weeds. I finally caught myself clenching and released a soft “oh” sound, in order to change the vibe. And then to my astonishment, that “oh” unleashed all three verses of “Iowa Stubborn,” the opening number of our high school musical, The Music Man. Apparently, I can’t clench my jaw or hammer my teeth while I’m singing. 

So, as I warbled “Iowa Stubborn” over and over again, I thought about my dear friends Kathy, Cindy and Laurna, who starred in the production. (I was merely a “Pick-a-Little Lady,” with one line: “Rabalais!”) And I thought about Kevin, because “Iowa Stubborn” figures prominently in the story of how we met.

Maybe I was “efforting” to recall all the words; but my face happily yielded to the song — and the smiles.

I found this resourceful weed and accommodating shell in my garden. I’ve decided to keep it.

May 3. I sat in the empty basin of our ornamental pond, scraping silt and algae. Then I sat in the ornamental grass hosing off the pump and its parts. At last I sat on the edge of the patio, exhausted from another five hours of spring garden cleanup.

Our kind neighbors walked over. (Oh no. Had they heard me singing?) While the husband reassembled the pond’s pump, the wife congratulated me on the garden’s transformation. Then she said, “I was going to tell you this morning, but I decided to wait. We’ve seen snakes.”

Gulp. 

I plan to do all of tomorrow’s mulching standing up. With my eyes closed.

A bit of mulch, a bit of begonia and a nice clean pond!
Ok, here’s another view of our backyard.

May 4:  I came to the bay to watch the sunset but found the sounds instead. Standing as quiet as I could, I distinguished a half dozen different birds calls. I heard a dog and her owner crunch over the clam shell path. I heard the click of a shutter under a twelve inch camera lens. And always, always, the surf pounded, a continuous roar 300 yards behind me beyond the beach vegetation and dunes. 

I didn’t close my eyes to lay mulch. But I closed them to absorb the setting sun. 

(I just opened my eyes to write this. And now I’m closing them again.)

May 5: Today I read a book, sat in the sunshine, played a game, chatted with neighbors, and sipped a beer. Oh yes, I also admired all my hard work.

I also definitely didn’t cook. Here’s a view from my table in West Ocean City, Maryland.

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15 thoughts on “Delights: April 29 to May 5

  1. All that hard work in the garden has paid off! I think I might have been tempted to buy a crab pot…but goodness knows what I would do with it 🙂 I love that moment when you step outside and listen…for me it might be the thud of tennis ball on racquet from the courts over the road, birds calling and strange rustling in the bushes, and sometimes the faint tinkle of our cat’s bell as he wanders home from an adventure.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh, I like those images. I’m right there with you. Funny — I find the thud of tennis balls very soothing, especially when I don’t see them. Perhaps it’s the soft sound, the rhythm — and then the disruption of the rhythm. Anyway, I’m glad you shared your soundscape.

      Regarding the crab pots: they are pretty, aren’t they? Maybe standing on one end they’d make an impromptu garden table? And thanks for saluting my garden work. You’ve inspired me!

      Like

  2. In Maine, we have lobster traps, and, yes, some people use them for lawn ornaments. But not me. I’m a flatlander who was born in central Maine. 😉 Anyway…I really enjoyed reading the story about how you and your husband met. And snakes! Yikes! But in truth I expect they are all around, but we don’t usually see them. Finally, what a pretty backyard you have.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Laurie, for your cheery note! The garden did turn out nice. We have a bit of woods, but nothing like what you see from your lovely patio! Regarding those pretty crab pots: Like the lobster traps in Maine, the crab pots are likely sold for real use. But I applaud whoever decided to paint them bright colors. Now I’m tempted to get one…

      Thanks for reading the story of how Kevin and I met! And let’s keep the snakes where we (and they) are happiest!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. re snakes: Out of sight!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Well your hard work certainly paid off. Your garden is beautiful. I like the idea of singing while you do hard work it makes it much sweeter. Luckily I have no neighbors that have to hear me. Have a great weekend!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi! Thanks for your very kind compliment about the garden. Once done (never done?) it is certainly lovely to look at. You’re lucky to have wide spaces to sing loudly; I’d certainly do so if I could, out of tune and happy as a clam. (This reminds me of the time I was mowing the lawn as a teenager and had to sing super loudly to hear myself. I didn’t realize what was happening until a neighbor walked by chuckling!)

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  4. Wow, you have snakes in your garden! I know you’ll think I’m a bit crazy (many people do!), but I think you’re very lucky. I’ve always been fascinated by these misunderstood critters. I hope you and they will be able to co-exist in harmony. What species do you have?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I admire your openhearted spirit toward snakes! In fact, when I entered the garden on Thursday, I resolved to welcome any critter who came to say hello. Happily, none did, so my generosity was not tested…. I don’t know what species we have (and forgive me for saying that I learn about them only in books!).

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Brilliant! A wonderful yard, hard work and just rewards. And thanks for the link to the story of how you met. I haven’t read it yet. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, friend. Do you have a link to the story of how you and Amore met? Maybe post it (again) on your anniversary….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Ohh, not really… This is interesting, what spurred me to leave Slovenia and come to him, first on a visit, then forever. It was a book: https://manjamaksimovic.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/grazie-for-changing-my-story/

        Liked by 1 person

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