The sky is blue. Outrageously blue today. It is the kind of day that makes you forget clouds exist. A breeze kicks up and cools my sweaty brow. I feel good today, no stress. I can hear the rumbling of bike gangs in the near distance, out of sight, but within earshot. I’m in our yard. I have been standing in a patch of grass, what is left of our lawn, for about 15 minutes trying to figure out where to start. Our yard used to be orderly and clean, well at least as much as it could be. Today and every summer for the past few years it has become more and more jungle like.
Grape vines have climbed up our fragile cherry tree. The small apple and pear trees are nowhere in sight. The rock wall that divided the yard in two is overgrown and falling down. I can barely make out where the pond used to be beyond the wall and up a small hill just out of reach of one of our fine pine trees. The other pine, the taller skinner one closer to the house used to have a green wooden bird feeder hanging from its branches 10 feet above the ground. There is no use looking for it nor the huge black rubber tractor tire that sat beneath the tree and served as a sand box for us as children. The growth has taken over and turned what used to be a roughly tended yard into a thicket filled with vines to trip you, insects to sting you and thorns to prick you.
This place is a nightmare I think to myself. How did we ever let it get this way? I mean all we had to do was mow a few times a year and it wouldn’t have gotten so bad. “If dad were around this wouldn’t have happened,” I think to myself. I’ve thought this a million times and in every possible situation I could imagine. Whenever something is hard or I feel overwhelmed I think this wouldn’t be this way if dad were still alive.
I feel this way about a lot of things in my life, especially things I don’t know how to confront or address. I feel that if my dad were still around things would be different. No doubt that feeling is true, but it in of itself it is not an overwhelmingly helpful insight nor does it help me better understand how to deal with the sense of loss I associate with his absence.
I sigh, look around and begin to feel overwhelmed by the wall of green intertwined life staring me in the face. I have my loppers, a pair of leather gloves and long pants on. What would dad do if he were here? He would enjoy the time spent outside and plunge into the thicket and turn it back into what he wanted it to be and would be smiling the entire time. I grin, pick up my loppers envisioning my father out here beside me and step into the thicket.