I spent most of the day outside and just like wise metaphysical thinkers claim: being in nature does indeed ground and soothe the soul. We made an impromptu trip to the botanic gardens where familiar flowers were showing themselves a full three months earlier than we enjoy them in Denver. It was like June in March and just like Winnie The Pooh claims, no one can fail to be cheered by a garden. Parts of the garden mimicked a familar part of East Texas with cedar knuckles in a pond’s edge, bay trees, and painted turtles. It was the Texas of my earliest and most fond childhood memories; a place that has truly been paved over and engineered into a planned community. I know it was good for Marcia, too. She hasn’t done much of anything since December except tend to my father while he made his unspeakably rapid decline.
After lunch, I wandered into the backyard and started pulling weeds in the rocks. I’m an odd girl and I like to weed. I didn’t weed for long because then I noticed the large fountain/birdbath rain water that was beginning to stagnate, a green skin was hiding black mold lurking under the surface. I knew my father would be tackling it if he could so I took it on myself to clean out the fountain. Of course I didn’t think it was a good enough job after blasting water in the bowls and scrubbing the surfaces, making the water murkier with debris and mold. I wanted to tip the fountain to one side and move the water completely out of the fountain, scrub it down again and then dry it out. Starting completely over. I wanted to start from scratch and make the fountain new. But I wasn’t strong enough to tip it to one side so I had to content myself with finding a way to empty the bowls without tilting the giant concrete structure. I wanted a syphon and I was pretty sure I could find something in the shed that would work.
My dad built a beautiful shed in his backyard just last year, Beav put the roof on and helped with interior walls. It’s the size of a one of the Small Houses people are beginning to build. The back room is storage but it’s brightened by two windows and high enough you could put a bathroom and a sleeping loft in it. A small doorway leads to the back room with is equally bright but a single story where a living area and kitchen could created. This room was my father’s shop. Once upon a time, I was mystified and intimidated by the tools he had; now I know what everything is for so I am only intimidated. I gingerly poked about looking for a bit of flexible hose for a syphon. I didn’t find it but the silence of the place and the smell of wood and the energy of the place gave me a sense of peace; the same sense of peace I felt when he showed it to me the last time I was home. Such joy and sense of purpose he must have felt when he was building this place. I almost tip-toed like I was leaving a church.
I continued pulling the water out of the fountain, concentrating on scrubbing off green and black mold spots. The task became methodical; a work of zen concentration as I felt myself more present in the garden than I had felt anywhere for almost three weeks. As I moved through my task in the garden I heard a requiem for my father. The birds sang the chorus as the wind chimes offered a gentle melody, sometimes discordant but every note was beautiful and well-timed.
And I felt peace.