Field of Dream

I was supposed to be doing computer stuff yesterday but my date fell through, so I joined my wife in some good old fashioned backyard maintenance.

And boy did it need maintenance.

If my yard had been a human being, it would be 45 years old, no job, 372 pounds, and living in it's mother's basement.

Not that is was repulsive, it hadn't started peeing in jars or anything, but it's not where you'd want to start the tour.

So many things had to go.

First were the weeds. Over in one corner, by our bedroom window, weeds had sprouted to Jurassic proportions. It was the only place where the sun isn't blazing 24/7 and the ground cover remains relatively moist.

In the far corner, just as an inverse example, in one of our raised garden beds, with very expensive soil and organic fertilizers, I had to remove and entire layer of dead dried out weeds that had tried their best and failed miserably to grab hold.

No wonder my tomatoes didn't make it last year. That particular patch couldn't even grow dandelions.

Of the nine years we've lived here, we've only planted stuff five times, and of those five times, only once has any plant produced enough fruit to make a decent sized salad. God clearly did not put me on this earth to have anything to do with the soil.

Crazy part is, is that I can't wait for the drought to end to plant again. It's never worth it  . . .  but it's totally worth it. I should have my medication adjusted.

Another big thing that had to go was our lovely old bench swing.

When we got it, it was quite the pinnacle of luxury.

It had nice soft seating, a large top cover for shade, took very little energy to get it to sway back and forth, and it was pretty.

For the first two years I would go outside with a book and some wine in a plastic cup and spend an hour or two devouring trashy novels and sipping iced chardonnay through a straw.

That my friends . . . is living the dream.

But the neighbors cat also love that bench swing, and eventually ripped holes in the shade screen and covered the plush seats with nasty outdoor cat hair which wouldn't wash off.

And then the sun got to it.

The sun out here is a bit of an enigma in that it powers a good portion of our energy usage, but will set fire to ants without the aid of a magnifying glass. Anything left outside will not make it past the first few weeks of June.

God only knows what happened to the cat.

So as I sat down on the swing to take a mild break from weed pulling, the final vinyl ripped down the middle and turned the backyard bench swing into a useless skeleton of rusty aluminum. Oh well.

What also had to go was the lower branches of one of our shade trees.

Joann caught it first, seeing that the benches had been laying gently on the cinder block wall, but not so gently that it wasn't actually crumbling the brick.

Nature is pretty amazing that way. So I got to do the man thing and bring out a saw and made quick work of the destructive branches.

Only thing was was that the branches fell on the other side of the wall and I had to walk around the corner and throw them back over. That doesn't sound so bad except that I was wearing a sombrero that I got from Chevys for my birthday some decades ago. I could just imagine what passing cars might see with this sweaty white guy walking around the neighborhood with a sombrero and a saw.

That's the stuff that nightmares are made of.

But I made it through.

Anyway, the last bit to go was our back yard lawn.

What once was this lush emerald green landscape has become a patchy brown area of desolation somewhere between the surface of the moon and the football field of an underfunded high school.

I actually did love that lawn. I kept it watered. I kept it mowed. I sat and drank coffee on Sunday mornings and watched my father-in-law sprinkle it with seeds and fertilizer because he couldn't help himself.

It survived when nothing else would and was the home of badminton courts, water gun fights, and countless kiddie pools.

And now it's finalizing it's life.

Which made me think as I was taking a break under my sombrero after having dismantled the bench swing "Why did I want a lawn in the first place?"

And it hit me very easily.

We put the lawn in during our first summer here. I discovered that I was not the guy to do it very quickly so it was contracted out and probably the best decision we've ever made. Though I didn't do the work, I do take credit for the design (both the concrete and the shape of the yard, and I drew it out in such a way that it could make the best use of the space.

The best use of the space for all the things I mentioned above, plus the perfect amount of length across, that I could one day play catch with my son, who at the time wasn't even a year old.

I had this dream that we could go out into the back yard and play catch.

Cause that's what father's and son's do.

They play catch.

Now anyone who knows me, or knows my son, knows that his interest in baseball, lasted exactly one season.

That's it.

On season.

He hasn't picked up a glove since.

Which, if you were a cynic, sounds sad.

But in the cool spring breeze under the shade of my sombrero staring at the patchy brown field, I found it rather beautiful.

See, I designed that place, spent the last of parental donated cash to build it, watered it, mowed it, let my father-in-law do what he needed to do with it, all to experience the ephemeral moment of father and son, out in the yard, tossing a ball back and forth.

And we did that.

We did that every day for six months.

It was awesome.

And maybe sure, it's over now, and maybe I'll never get it back, but it can never be taken away.

So you know . . . totally worth it.

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