Sunday, April 18, 2010

all in a day

Went a memorial mass yesterday for the wife of a close friend who succumbed to cancer exactly twenty years ago. The friend is also a deacon of the church where we gathered. He gave a homily which told of his wife's ability to be present, to put aside distractions, worries, and the nags of daily chores and simply be present, listening and responding — attending — to whatever it might be that another person needed of her at a moment, a particular moment in time. He went on to say his new spiritual adviser asked him to lay out his daily routine. He began explaining his work as teacher, his duties as deacon, his responsibilities as a elected commissioner for his neighborhood, his volunteer work in Cub Scouting, and quite a bit more. He said he made time for daily religious observance, every evening without fail and mornings as often as he could. The adviser cut him short and said he needed to give himself time for meditation; not doing something, but not doing. We in the pews sighed in agreement with the spiritual adviser when our friend got to this part of the homily. We rely on him to bring us together, as he faithfully, does three or four times a year, at the same time we realize that his devotion to our social welfare in providing festive occasions for our periodic gathering together is not a burden that we ourselves could take on.

At the buffet lunch he provided after the ceremony a young guy asked what I'm up to these days. My life is much less full than our mutual friend's (actually his uncle, my friend). I gave a brief outline of my routine and thought how easy it is for me to make time for meditation in my life.

Maybe partly as a result of that conversational exchange, today I found myself busier than usual. I did my usual morning tracking of internet locations that had updated since the day before. I found a page to link to on Facebook. I worked on a draft blog post that has been giving me trouble. I rehung the hanging geraniums on our back porch so they can be more easily seen outside our kitchen door. I mowed the lawn. I went off to do some shopping at our local Trader Joe foodstore. On return, putting my bike away, I heard a hissing that told me my rear tire was going flat. I ate my lunch and then worked on the tire (it only needed a new tube) and gave the bike some extra cleaning while the wheel was off.

Then, because on my way home for TJ I'd seen some pressure-treated, eight-foot 4x4 pieces of wood out for pick up I went in the car and collected these two timbers thinking I'd use them as a barrier between the lower part of our yard and one section of our uphill neighbor's, where a discharge pipe from a basement sump pump has been issuing an intermittent stream even in dry weather. I didn't think I could do more than mitigate the swampy condition but thought I'd do this simple thing as a first step while she decides whether to put in a dry well to solve the problem altogether. I picked up the wood and carted it home. It needed some disassembly since its previous use had been in supporting an fairly big and elaborate arbor. This I did and then prepared the muddy earth where I'd lay the timbers and put them in place. Realizing I needed some extra turf to support them and improve the water barrier, I did a second project: moving a concrete pad from our far back yard (where no longer needed) to a spot by our garage (where it could serve a useful purpose). The concrete is about two foot square by about four inches deep. I removed earth from the target location and used it with the barrier timbers and then installed the stepping stone in its new home.

There's no moral to this story. I was a bit sore when I completed my afternoon exercise routine and a bit thoughtful about the odd day, like this one, that contains somewhat more busy-ness than usual.

This image shows six of the eight bolts I removed in disassembling the arbor to get my timbers. I thought they might be photogenic and that's really the reason I wrote all this.

I recommend that you click this image to see a full-screen view; or, if you wish, click this link to view at highest resolution.

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