Seeing the Bright Side

Anyone who has read my blog for any length of time knows I am not a glass-half-full sort of person. Nor, to be honest, am I a glass-half-empty person. I’m more prosaic than either type, more realistic. The nature of a glass is to not remain at a halfway point. If the glass contains a drinkable beverage, you drink it and then refill the glass with the same or a different beverage, or you wash the glass and put it away. If the glass doesn’t contain a drinkable beverage, you toss out the contents and wash the glass or you toss out the whole thing — glass and contents. If you don’t drink the beverage, the glass still doesn’t remain half empty/half full. There is a thing called evaporation, which means that no matter what, the glass will empty itself.

Life, like the level of the contents in the glass, is in motion. A situation can seem bleak with no bright side at all, such as the death of a loved one, and while that situation never changes, you do. When Jeff died, I tried to tell myself that at least he wasn’t suffering anymore and though I suppose that is a realistic bright side, it didn’t help me at all in dealing with my grief. However, there does come a time — years later, perhaps — when a griever has to stop seeing only the bleakness of life and to try to find a brighter side.

In my case, it was the dance classes I started taking three-and-a-half years after Jeff died. Although I was still grieving for him, my grief wasn’t the only “side” in my life anymore. There was a brighter side, too, which helped light my way through the dark times.

I’ve never trusted people who only look at the bright side of things. It seems to me they are either delusional or indulging in dreams instead of reality. Besides, without dark, there is no light. There was an artist who found fame as a painter of light, but if you were to study his paintings piece by piece (as in a jigsaw puzzle) you will see that most of the painting is dark; the darkness is what makes the light so bright.

I do think it’s possible, because of one’s situation, one’s temperament, or one’s mental frame of mind, that it becomes habit to only look on the dark side. (Which means, I suppose, that for some people, looking only on the bright side is also possible.) If only the dark is apparent, it’s a good idea to try to see the bright side of things. In the case of grief, it’s more than okay to indulge in the bleakness because that’s how we learn to cope with life without our loved one. However, as the years pass, it’s okay to start seeing the bright side of other things.

Although I am still aware of the bleakness of Jeff’s being gone, I have looked for a bright side and in fact, looking for any brightness in my life was how I found myself in a new way of being. It wasn’t that I tried to find a bright side to his being gone — there simply is no bright side. It’s that I tried to find a bright side to my still being here. And there is much brightness in my life now — a house, a home, a garden, flowers, a lawn, friends, neighbors, a compatible town, a nearby library — so much so that I no longer need to find the brightness. It finds me.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Weird Times

This seems to be a time of weirdness for me, though if things come in threes as the saying goes, then by tomorrow, my life should be back to normal. Assuming, of course, there is a normal anymore.

First, there was the issue with someone trying to change my Facebook password. By itself, it’s not that weird, but at the same time, I was unable to get into the email associated with my website, and two concurrent anomalies do make for weirdness.

Second, there was the issue with Flagstar Bank and their security breach. Again, by itself, it’s not that weird, but their having my identity information is inexplicable. And yet, as someone pointed out, I will get two years of free credit and identity monitoring out of it, though it does seem a bit much since I have no credit to ruin.

Third, well, this third thing isn’t at all in the same category as the first two, but weird nevertheless. I purchased a plant starter at the local hardware store. The planting instructions mention that the plant will grow so densely that in two or three years, it will need to be divided. The instructions also included the caveat that propagation is strictly prohibited. In other words, I will have to propagate the plant by dividing it, but I am not allowed to do so.

That falls more in the category of irony, I think, than true weirdness, but it’s noteworthy all the same. Not that anything will happen to me if I do propagate the plant since here are no propagation police wandering around with magnifying glasses checking out people’s gardens to look for propagation violations. The warning is more for those who sell plants commercially, which, of course, I don’t do. I’m on the other end of the commercial spectrum where I shell out money for plants rather than raking it in.

And anyway, I should be so lucky as to have to propagate the plant. So far, the only plant that’s done well enough to need to be divided are my New England asters. Last fall I divided my single clump of asters and ended up with seven or eight clumps. Each of those clumps look as if they will yield another four or five plants, so I will have to figure out what I want to do with all of them. Right now, the asters are edging part of the swath of grass that sweeps from the side of my house to the back yard, and I’m thinking of continuing to edge the grass with the asters. Luckily, I have several months to decide what to do — I certainly wouldn’t want to jinx the poor plants by counting on their doing well right now when the weird times are in full swing.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Complications

I’m having a hard time adjusting to the new season, or maybe just to the cooler, damper weather. Whichever, I’m tired and cranky and not much interested in dealing with complications, but that’s life, right? Dealing with complications, I mean.

As wonderful as the internet is — a place to bank, blog, play games, learn, research, hang out with friends — it can also be . . . well, complicated.

Yesterday I had to deal with someone trying to change my Facebook password. I also had to deal with non-connecting issues concerning my website email.

Today I have another complication to deal with. I received a letter (an actual, physical, delivered-to-me-at-my-house communication) from Flagstar Bank telling me that they had experienced a cyber incident that involved unauthorized access to their network, and that one or more of the impacted files contained my social security number, account number, loan number, name, address, phone number, date of birth, or driver’s license number, and my financial institution’s name.

I had to read that several times, not just because of my seasonal adjustment issues, but because it made no sense. I have no idea what Flagstar Bank is, have never had an account there, and as far as I’ve been able to establish, neither of the banks I’ve dealt with in the past thirty years have any connection to Flagstar. (I’ve only had two banks in all that time, and both were privately and locally owned.)

I checked with a financial expert, who said that banks do exchange information. (So much for the banks much vaunted guarantee that financial information is secure!) They also suggested I follow with Flagstar’s offer of a two-year account with an identity monitoring service. So I did. I only had three opportunities to give the service the correct information proving I am who I said I was, which was a bit nerve-wracking. One of the questions listed several banks and asked which bank carried my home equity loan, which was confusing because they seemed to think I had such a loan, and I don’t. Another question listed several phone numbers and asked which, if any, of them was a previous phone number. How am I supposed to know that? I’ve had the same phone number now for fifteen years, and haven’t a clue what any previous phone number was, or even how to find it. Another question was where I applied for my social security card, and that at least I knew.

Luckily, I passed the identity portion of the sign-up process on the first try, but then I had to fill in all sorts of information such as social security number, phone number, address, etc. It seemed weird that to protect myself from a breach, I have to give up the very information that was breached in the first place, but I did it, and now I am (sort of) protected, even though I don’t have any credit to breach!

See? Complications.

On a much less complicated note . . . the first daylily of the season bloomed!

***

Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

Happy Summer

The first day of summer? Really? It feels as if summer has been here for the past couple of months, with temperatures into the nineties and hundreds. Today, oddly, is a cool, misty day, with fallen leaves sprinkled about. Maybe someone is playing a joke on us, and it’s really the beginning of fall.

More probably, the joke is that we still have three months of heat ahead of us, and today was just a bad connection, where the weather couldn’t log in to the proper season.

I’m just being silly about the incorrect log in — and grateful for the cool day. What made me think of the bad connection analogy was that I couldn’t log into my website email, the one I opted to pay for. (Too many people and businesses and sites have that address for me, and it was too complicated to change. The good news is I don’t have to deal with any ads.)

I called my website provider, and after going through a series of verifications, a real person answered. A real American-English speaking person. It was such a delight talking to someone who understood what I was saying, and moreover, one who had patience with my inability to think of simple words. (Like address bar. Why would that have slipped from my brain?) They didn’t really do anything except take up enough time that the problem fixed itself, but at least the issue is on record, and if there is ever another instance of the same thing happening, I know where to send the screenshot of the very, very, very, very long 500 error code that basically said there was a problem connecting to the server but no one knew what it was.

I’m always leery when two weird computer-related things happen around the same time. I had just received an email from Facebook telling me that someone tried to change my FB password, and if it wasn’t me, to click on the link, which I did. (The link took me to a message that basically just said the problem was reported.) It seemed legitimate, a real Facebook notification, but since my website email address is my backup email for FB, I wondered if whoever had tried to change my FB password had somehow done something to my website email. The real person said the two weirdnesses weren’t related. They also looked up the email address on the FB email, and said that, as I had surmised, it was legitimate. So, whew!

But that’s not what this post was supposed to be about. I’d intended to talk about having summer before it was summer. I’ve spent the past couple of days cleaning up spent larkspur (because of the heat, the plants gone through their cycle and were finished for the year) and planting seeds in the cleared garden areas. When this happens later in the summer, I just let it go, but it seemed a shame to spend the entire summer with an empty garden patch, especially since summer just started today.

And oh! It’s not my imagination — my brown grass is greening up. I think it helped that the lightbulb finally went on, and I sprinkled the dead areas with mulched grass clippings to keep the heat and wind off the grass. (I’ve been moving the mulch around a bit so that the clippings don’t mat down and block air flow to the grass.) And it seems to have helped. Since this appears to be a problem area, I will continue with this light mulching until the cooler weather. If I had any doubts, I now know this is a cool season grass that does not like our summer heat, so I’m sure the grass is enjoying this lovely cool day as much as I am.

Happy summer!

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Reflection of What Goes on in My Life

When I blog every day, as I have for the past 1000 days, it’s hard to come up with blog topics, so if I think of something I might want to write about, I jot it down. One such topic on my very short list is “metaverse.” Apparently, the metaverse is like a three-dimensional internet experience where you can go into the virtual world and do things you do in the real world, like go to school or work, browse store shelves and shop, play games as if you were really there, and all sorts of other real life and virtual life experiences. There’s no such thing as a metaverse yet — so far, it only exists in science fiction movies — but all the big internet and computer and game moguls are working on it. (Which is why Facebook changed its name to Meta — it wanted a head start on the whole metaverse thing.)

I’m not really interested in such a concept. I have a hard enough time with the physical universe (to the extent that it’s physical, that is), and my internet usage is basic — blogging, researching, ordering things I need — so I doubt I’d ever be interested, especially if Facebook/Meta is involved. There are still blocking my blog, so I have to reblog it onto another blog and then post that link, but I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be doing that. Although I have a lot of friends on Facebook, I really do not like that FB is trying to control the narrative of our lives and our world and now, apparently, the universe.

Another item on my blog topic list was a quote from Thomas Browne: Life is a pure flame and we live by an invisible sun within us. I like the quote but never quite figured out how to use it as a blog topic.

The last item was something I just added recently “Reflection of what goes on in my life.” Huh? What the heck was I referring to? I doubt it was the tarot because it certainly doesn’t reflect what goes on in my life. The refection of what goes on in my life doesn’t refer to the books I’m reading, filled as they are with violence, murder, mysterious happenings, weird phenomenon, and sometimes a bit of romance. Considering that my yard, lawn, and garden are what I am currently focusing on, I suppose I could have meant those, especially my lawn, but I have no idea why I thought any of those things reflected my life. If I remember what I meant, I’ll be sure to mention it, but since there’s nothing else on my blog topic list, I’m tossing out the list, so chances are I won’t even remember that I wanted to write about something that’s a reflection of what goes on in my life.

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Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

1000th Day of Daily Blogging

Today is my 1000th straight day of daily blogging. It’s not my 1000th post, that happened years ago. In fact, this is my 3,476th post. That is a lot of blogging!

I would have thought that after coming up with something to write about every day for 1000 days in a row, that I would have been at a loss for something to say today, but luckily, my neighbors served up plenty of things for me to write about.

First thing this morning, when I was taking my mower out of the garage so I could cut the grass, my next-door neighbor told me if I ever saw a particular person — middle-aged, skinny, tattoos all over his face — to call the cops because that person tried to break into his shed where all his tools are stored. He said if he saw the fellow on his property again, the person would be dead. Not a good start to the day!

Later, I set out to walk an errand (rather than “run an errand,” because with my knees, I don’t run for any reason, not even from scary dudes with tattoos all over their face). A neighbor down the block was standing in his yard behind a tree where I couldn’t see him, watering his grass on the other side of the sidewalk, making it impossible for me to pass. I couldn’t holler at him because he’s deaf, so I waved my walking stick. He saw it, swung the stream of water out of my way, and smiled at me. Big doings! In the 1,200 days since I bought my house, this was the first time he ever acknowledged my presence in any way.

I turned the corner, and as I was walking down the street, another neighbor that I’ve had little contact with stopped me to warn about a couple of aggressive dogs that were loose. He’d called dispatch because those dogs are often out harassing passers-by, and although this town supposedly pays for a dog catcher, no one has ever seen the person, so basically, unless I wanted to go home for the weeks it would take for the mythical dog catcher to catch the dogs, I was on my own.

Those dang dogs did come running after me, though they couldn’t get close because I was waving my sticks around. (I don’t know about walking softly, but carrying a big stick — or two — is always a good idea when walking in this town.) Luckily, another walker came up behind me, and the dogs left me alone and started harrying him, which didn’t seem to bother the other walker at all.

Eventually, the dogs ran off, but they found me again on my way home. The same neighbor who warned me about them jumped in his truck and got between me and the dogs until the dogs lay down for a nap — too much excitement for them, I guess. On his way back to his house, the neighbor pulled up next to me and said he’d been talking to the deputy the dispatcher had sent, but before the deputy could do anything about the dogs, he got another call and took off.

When I got home, I noticed the deputy talking to my next-door neighbor. (Since the deputy was just around the corner, that was probably the fastest response anyone in this town ever got after calling the sheriff.) Turns out, the scary dude was hiding beneath my other next-door neighbor’s bushes. I tend to think the dude ran off before he was apprehended because I didn’t see anyone in the official vehicle. Maybe the escaped dogs and the escaped dude are hanging around together, though I wouldn’t know. I’ve decided this is a good day to make sure everything is locked up and to stay inside.

So, there you have it. Other people might be celebrating Father’s Day or Juneteenth or National Martini Day or even World Sauntering Day, but me? I’m celebrating a safe return home after my action-packed saunter, as well as my 1000th blog post.

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Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.

Silver Linings

I read an article recently that claimed there is a silver lining behind all the dangerous weather this summer: that it’s showing the weaknesses in the infrastructure. I suppose that could be considered a positive side effect of the weather-damaged roads and bridges and such, but as comforting as that thought might be, it doesn’t seem like a good payoff. If the things that were damaged are rebuilt to be stronger and better, and if other places that didn’t have to deal with the damage takes measures prevent damage from happening, it might be a good thing. But that’s a lot of ifs.

Although I am not one to go looking for silver linings — they smack too much of positive-thinking phoniness — perhaps I should accept my wind-scorched grass in the same vein: treat it as if the damage to my lawn merely showed up the areas that need special care. That’s assuming, of course, that the grass will grow back. Otherwise, there is no silver lining.

Still, it does seem as if there is a bit of greening in the scorched area. To be honest, I’m not sure I can trust my memory, and I was too discouraged those first few days to want to memorialize the brown swathe, so the green might be more a sign of my hopefulness than of actual repair.

Despite being discouraged, I am aware that sometimes setbacks don’t mean a whole lot. For example, when I bought my car, I got a lemon. There were many things wrong with it, and the dealer wouldn’t take my word for what was wrong. (The thing I most clearly remember was that the transmission screeched when I switched gears.) Every time I took it in, they told me in exaggeratedly patient tones I wasn’t used to the new car, the inference being I was young and female and didn’t know what I was doing. Most annoying of all, they underlined in my owner’s manual the section about how to shift. It wasn’t until a friend of a friend who loved to fight took the bug back to the dealer and got someone to actually drive it, that suddenly the light dawned on them. There was something wrong with the car! Apparently, a synchromesh had never been installed, the very part that allowed for ease of shifting. So they fixed that. Not long afterward, the clutch cable broke, and then . . . you get the picture.

Yet here I am, still driving the same car fifty years later. I’m not sure what this particular story has to do with silver linings and dead grass, since it seems to fall more in the category of “you never know,” but it seemed to fit.

It’s funny that I seem to be acquiring a few VW Bug collectables when I still have the original vehicle, but I find these trinkets amusing. (Which is probably why they were gifted to me.)

I suppose in years to come, I’ll look back on this situation with grass in the same way I look back on my “lemon,” but for now, I am just hoping that with special care, the grass will cure itself. If that can be considered a silver lining, well, then, so be it.

***

What if God decided S/He didn’t like how the world turned out, and turned it over to a development company from the planet Xerxes for re-creation? Would you survive? Could you survive?

A fun book for not-so-fun times.

Click here to buy Bob, The Right Hand of God.

Finding a Focus After Grief

Not everyone enjoys my gardening posts, especially those who have found this blog because of grief, and that’s understandable, but the truth is, almost all my posts, even the gardening posts, are indirectly related to grief.

The past twelve years, particularly the past five when the pain of Jeff’s death pretty much disappeared, have been about finding a focus outside myself, about making myself . . . bigger. Becoming more.

When you’re connected to someone in an intrinsic way, such as Jeff and I were, almost by definition, you’re bigger than just yourself. You’re part of a twosome, working together to create a life for yourselves. Your combined energy expands each of you beyond your life into something more than either of you would be individually.

When one half of a couple dies, the one left behind feels diminished. No longer part of a couple, you shrink back to yourself, and it simply doesn’t seem to be enough. At least that’s the way it was for me. At the beginning, my grief was so all-encompassing, my pain so great, my shock at how his death made me feel so intense, that it masked the feeling of smallness. Oddly, when my grief began to dissipate, I started to grieve for my grief because as it turned out, grief was something more, something beyond merely me.

And then one day, there I was . . . just me. No Jeff, no grief, no more grappling with the idea of death, no more feeling the winds of eternity in my face.

And it didn’t seem enough. I didn’t seem enough.

If I hadn’t had that connection to another human being for so many years, I might not have noticed that lack of “enoughness,” though come to think of it, before I met Jeff, I struggled with the meaning of life and was often plagued by thoughts of “is this all there is?” It wasn’t until after he died, and I had shrunk back into myself, that those thoughts returned. I missed Jeff, of course, missed our shared life, but as those memories fade somewhat, what I missed even more is being part of something bigger than myself.

Time has passed, as it does, and now I’m used to being merely me, but I still need to focus on something other than myself, to focus on something outside of myself.

Over the years, that focus has changed — from dance, to travel, to home ownership, to gardening — but always, it’s the act of focusing rather than the focal point that is important. It gives me a reason to get up in the morning, creates a semblance of meaning, lends a sense of “something more” to my life.

So yes, my posts often talk about gardening or my lawn or my house or the improvements I’ve made to the property because that’s what I’m focusing on. As I age, chances are my focus will become more about health issues or finding ways to do things that have become hard to do or maybe even just the weather because in an age-restricted life, weather is about the only thing outside one’s self that changes.

But even those posts, whatever they might be (assuming, of course, I am still writing) will be indirectly related to grief because if Jeff were still here, none of this would be relevant.

But he isn’t here, and I am. So I need something to focus on. For now, that focus is gardening.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

Doing Something Right

I’m a bit surprised at myself. Despite the discouragement of a large swathe of grass getting windburned and flowers dying because of the scorching, arid winds we had a couple of days ago, I’m still out there every day, taking care of my garden. Perhaps I’ve lost some of the joy and maybe even a bit of the zeal I had for gardening, but that isn’t stopping me from doing the best I can for my “baby” (as a friend has dubbed my yard).

Today I watered and weeded, but I also cleaned out some of the dying foliage. The larkspur has run its course, which seems odd to me since they are supposed to bloom all summer, though that might just be in cooler climates. Mine larkspur, for sure, don’t like extreme heat (and we’ve had that in abundance). I did try to cut the flowers back, but they didn’t rebloom, so I let them go to seed. Today I removed a lot of the brown stems and am saving the seeds to replant this fall.

A nice thing about these plants is that they are prolific re-seeders and will pop up next year anywhere the seeds land. Since they don’t last long here, I don’t have to worry about their taking over. They provide nice color early, and then when I have to remove the spent stems, it makes room for later bloomers, such as lilies and echinacea.

There have been a few encouraging developments in my yard, which helps to offset some of the discouragement.

The Shasta daisy I planted last year bloomed for the first time.

The petunias that reseeded themselves are flowering. The original flowers were the dark purple color, but I’m fine with the lighter purple petunias, too, and rightly so since these are basically “free” flowers.

And I had a delightful visitor this morning. A green toad.

I’ve seen brown toads around here, but this is the first green one I’ve ever encountered. At first I wondered if it were a frog, being green and all, so I looked it up. Turns out all toads are frogs, but not all frogs are toads, and both frogs and toads are signs of a healthy ecosystem, so despite recent setbacks, having this toad hanging around means I’m doing something right. At least, that’s what I tell myself.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

A Day for Friendship

The first year that I did a daily tarot reading, I used a single card. This second year I used two cards. Next month starts my third year, and I’ll probably graduate to a three-card reading. Not that I’m learning anything much either about the tarot or myself, but you never know. If there’s anything to learn, I’m sure I’ll eventually learn it, and if not, well, it’s as good a way to start the day as any other.

Mostly the reading is rote — I pick the cards, look up their meanings and try to figure out how the two cards fit together. Sometimes there seems no discernable relationship; other times, it’s obvious.

Last night, I dreamt of a wedding. I’m not sure who was getting married, though I tend to think it was one of my sisters. The main thing I remember about the dream, other than the talk of her getting married, is that the bridesmaids dresses were going to be brown. This morning’s tarot cards were the four of wands and the ten of cups. In the deck I am currently using, the Egorov Tarot, the four of wands is about completion, prosperity and satisfaction, and love affairs leading to a wedding. The ten of cups is about true happiness in love and friendship, and weddings.

I must admit, this reading amused me, reflecting, as it did, my dream of an upcoming wedding rather than any real-life experience.

Today was a day for friendships, however, so the cards got that right. One friend stopped by this morning to return a pattern for a paper project that she’d borrowed. We chatted for a while until it was time for me to get ready to host a different friend for tea out in my gazebo. Since today was vastly cooler than the past couple of days, this seemed a good time to try out my new gazebo furniture.

The chairs were comfortable, though after our tea, we took a walk to the dollar store to check to see what sort of cushions they might have. Although I liked the cushions I found, I wasn’t sure I needed them. It just seemed as if they would be more things to have to take care of. We also decided the furniture would be able to withstand the elements better without any cushions, so that’s how we left it.

On my way home, I visited with another friend in the middle of the street. The only time I see this woman, it seems, is happenstance when I’m out walking and she’s out driving. Hence our visits in the middle of the road.

That was the best thing about today — seeing friends.

I still feel a bit sick at the desiccated swath of grass (the only good thing about the desiccation is I’ve finally learned to spell desiccate, just as the only good thing about high temperatures is finally learning how to spell Fahrenheit). I’m pretty sure what happened to that grass is that there are no reserves of water beneath that part of the lawn since that patch of grass is being grown over an area that once was part of a gravel driveway. Although there wasn’t much gravel to be seen when the sod was laid, I have a hunch there were many layers of buried gravel beneath the dirt. So, great drainage, but poor sustainability. I’m not giving up, though. The grass did fine for many months, and if I can get resuscitate it, I’m sure it will again do fine. Meantime, I’ll be watering that patch every day for a while.

Many of the plants that were also affected by those hot, arid winds have recovered though, not surprisingly, the Siberian wallflower had no use for the heat and is struggling.

Still, there are plenty of flowers and greenery to enjoy, especially when I’m sitting in my gazebo, on my new chairs, sipping iced tea with a friend.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.