This is one of those days when I forget I’m not a native of my adopted town. Everywhere I went this morning, as I wandered about doing a few errands, I met up with a good friend. I even managed to collect a couple of hugs, which was especially nice. I was particularly glad to see the woman I have tea with occasionally. We live only a few blocks apart, but we’re both so busy, it’s hard to find a time to get together (and with the weather being so hot, it’s hard to want to make the effort) but we took the opportunity today to make tentative plans for the only day this week we’re both free.

There is another friend I would have liked to encounter but didn’t. I’ve been meaning to call to invite for tea, but there just doesn’t seem to be time. (We’d planned to meet every week, and it’s embarrassing to think how long it’s been since we last got together.) It’s not that I’m so busy, really, it’s that I no longer like making plans to do two different things in one day. Two different things involving people, that is. Obviously, I do more than a single thing every day, even at this time of year when the heat is so enervating. Or maybe I should say especially at this time of year. Despite the heat, I am outside every morning for a couple of hours trying to keep my yard (and me!) hydrated and the weeds from taking over.

Doing yard work now is nowhere near as much fun as it was during the spring. The entire three months of spring I had to contend with strong winds, but still, I managed to find cooler times to be outside. Seeing the growth of the plants and enjoying the splashes of color as flowers blossomed made it all worthwhile. I’m in a holding pattern now, just trying to keep what is there alive. To be sure, there are a few blossoms now and again (lilies and echinacea right now), but mostly, the spring flowers are long gone, the summer flowers are disappearing, and the newly reseeded flower beds and the fall bloomers haven’t yet started to blossom.

Considering how hard it is to maintain what I now have, I can’t imagine what it will be like when the last two uncultivated areas of the yard are de-weeded and planted. I would like the raised garden to be built this fall (and so would the builder so he can check it off his list), but I’m not in any hurry to plant, though truthfully, that planting will be easy. This winter I’ll toss some wildflowers in the trough and then fill in with a few vegetables next spring. It’s the other area, a long stretch back to the alley, that is the real problem. So many weeds, and deep-rooted ones at that.

For now, I’m just treading water. Well, not treading water since mostly the water I see is what comes out of my hose. So treading soil, maybe? Treading paths? Treading errands? Whichever “treading” it is, I’m just holding my own, unable to overcome my heat-induced inertia as well as my garden’s inertia, to propel either of us forward through the summer doldrums.

Despite the rather forced metaphors, you get the picture and can understand why today’s serendipitous meeting with friends was so sweet, even if (as it seemed) I haven’t actually lived here my whole life.


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.

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