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Give Thanks in All Things

October 12, 2010

Our new house is perfect. It really is. It has flaws, and I love each and every flaw, because every one of the tiny things about our house that makes it not perfect all came together for my benefit in that this big beautiful house was within our budget, and we were lucky enough to be at the right place at the right time with an extraordinary real estate broker. It was a miracle, and every time I drive up, I am thankful.

There was less than a month between when we first made the offer and when we closed on the house, so, while we did our due diligence on the big things (our house has no major issues), we did not notice the small things until after we’d moved in.

The first of these was the large tree in the front yard. Every major limb was rotten to the point of being hollow. We’d planned to take it down and replace it within a year, but a month after we moved in, one of the limbs cracked and started leaning on our house. The tree was down the next week, much to the dismay of our tree-hugging neighbors who feel, like the prior residents of our house, that any tree is a good tree, even a non-native notorious house-destroyer. I’ve since planted four new trees in the front yard, a (native) maple, a ginkgo, and two (native) Mexican plums. All’s well in the tree department, but the shock of losing a major shade tree killed half of my lawn.

With no sprinkler system, making the garden look respectable again is going to be a challenge .

You read that right.

My wonderful, big, beautiful brick McMansion on a creek in my favorite neighborhood in Dallas does not have an underground irrigation system.

I am certain that the prior owners of this house, who had it custom-built, did it deliberately, as a cost-saving measure (they spent money on things that mattered, like great construction) but also out of concern for the environment, since sprinkler systems are notorious water-wasters. And, if I had left the Arizona ash in place, I, too, would have been able to maintain my lawn with a hose-fed old-fashioned sprinkler. The rest of the garden was fine, but nothing special, overgrown in some places, but mostly thin grass. Since the weather turned cool a month ago, I’ve been working outside in the yard nonstop, and so has Chris. We’ve cleared out a lot of brush, put down ryegrass seed, transplanted bushes, and planted eighteen trees. I’ve been outside with the hose for two hours every day trying to give my new garden a good start.

I love working outside. I love being able to BE outside. I love having the strength to hold the hose for two hours. I love having the cognitive ability to remember where I have watered, and where I have not. I love being able to figure out how to use the nozzle on my sprayer. I love being able to read, and research, and plan, and figure out what trees will work well where, and I love my husband for understanding that planting trees as soon as possible is a good idea, for earning the resources that allowed me to go out and buy eighteen trees in a month, and for not complaining too much when it means we will be eating beans from now until Christmas.

“”Work in your garden,” was what “they” said to me, when I finished cancer treatment and asked, “What do I do now.”

I know what they mean now when they talk about work being an offering of praise and thanksgiving.

From → Garden

  1. Mary Knapp permalink

    The kiss of the sun for pardon
    The song of the birds for mirth
    One is nearer God’s heart in a garden
    Than anywhere else on earth.

    I remember tying up daffodils when you had just started chemo, praying that you would see them bloom next spring.
    I remember the surge of optimism when you planted a few bulbs in the fall before your surgery.
    And now, you have planted young trees expecting to see them fully mature.

    In many ways, the garden has been a metaphor for your journey.

  2. love the last line of this, especially.
    of course, writing is a kind of work. i see praise and thanksgiving in every post of this blog.

  3. My current mantra from last Sunday’s Sunday School class:

    “Bloom where you are planted.”

  4. Nancy Kirk permalink

    You and your mother are inspirations.

    • Mary Knapp permalink

      Thanks, Nancy. Your comment is encouraging.
      But I also need to tell you that there were many times during the “journey” when I felt anything but inspirational, and I still don’t always feel that way.
      Fortunately, I had a couple of good friends who let me be a spoiled brat and throw a tantrum from time to time.
      Now, when I have a friend who is in a crisis, I usually tell her, “Talk to me when you’re not feeling brave.”
      I tied up some of those daffodils up pretty roughly.

  5. Caroline Kirkpatrick permalink

    I don’t really know what else to say other than that this whole write-up and the comments are very touching…Very rare I am at a loss for words.:)

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