Because it wasn’t the easiest of days

I’m starting back to school this week. Our first teacher day was today- and my brain was not ready for the early alarm. I made it into school though- coffee and laptop, ready to go!

It’s not going to be an easy year, to say the least. The day was filled with a lot of “can’t”s- students can’t… teachers can’t… we can’t… and as a teacher of 20 years, I’ve had a lot of times that have been (get read for that word) unprecedented – 9/11, active shooter drills (and training- which is even more horrifying). However, this time- this issue is the most unprecedented of the unprecedenteds.

Even so- that actually wasn’t the most difficult issue of the day.

One of our beloved custodians, who has been at the school longer than I have (I’ve been there 17 years), died suddenly last night. We were told at the beginning of the staff meeting- and the next hour or so was a blur.

I didn’t know this man extremely well because he worked in a different part of the building, but I worked with his wife (who had been a custodian at the high school) for about 15 years. Over and over in my mind, all I could think about was how is she going to survive this?

And then— as I do— I spiraled to all of the losses that we (the school) have had over the last several years, and it became very overwhelming. I sat there, in my mask, and tried not to cry, hyperventilate, not to stand up and scream at everyone worried about scented hand sanitizer!

So I came home to my son.

And I hugged him. And giggled with him. And told him about Mark- who he vaguely remembered from times he toddled around school with me in the summers. We talked and ate dinner. When he went outside to skate, and my mood started to fall again, I went out to my flowerbeds.

My sunflowers are huge now- getting ready to bloom. And as I walked along the house and gazed on the beauty of nature, my heart began to lift.

The tallest two are taller than me… I know that’s not saying much, but still.
Almost ready to bud

There is something intensely therapeutic about nature doing its thing. Flowers blooming, tree branches reaching toward the sky. I don’t know exactly how to phrase it, but it fills me.

Tomorrow I go back to meetings. And I will think of my friend and her loss, I know. But I hope too, that I can focus on the life going on in front of me so that I don’t begin to sink under the weight of my thoughts. I want to reach up in hope, like the strong stems of the sunflower, and catch as much of the sun as I can.

The petunias and geraniums in my grill planter also looked very cheery tonight.

One Neighbor’s Trash

Lately I’ve been trying my hand and gardening and fixing up my lawn to make it look less like I’ve only lived there a few months… when I’ve actually been there almost 18 years!

I fixed up an old pallet that I’d used as an herb garden a few years back and gave it a bit of a facelift.

I used back spray paint to disguise the roughness of the wood. Then, using a staple gun, I put in lawn fabric to hold in the dirt on all the sections, save the bottom (where I planted basil and sage, which have more substantial root systems. I got most of the herbs from my mom who has an extensive herb garden.

Then I was out watering my plants one morning and saw that my neighbor had put a rusted out grill on his curb. I’m not sure if this is the universal “come and get it sign,” but it is in our neighborhood 🙂

I suddenly thought, I bet I could make a planter out of that! And so when my best friend came over later that day, she helped me carry it over to my house.

Rust covered the entire outside of the grill and duct tape residue was on the lid (?)

Later that day I headed off to Lowe’s and got some steel wool (rust removal), some glossy black spray paint (I used Rust-Oleum), some planting soil and flowers.

First, I had to take the grill apart. I took of the kid and removed the inner pieces and the wood handle that had rotted apart. Then I used quite a bit of arm strength and scrape the rust off of the grill.

Next, I took a nail and hammered in some drainage holes in the bottom of the planter. Then I spray painted the whole thing- inside and out and filled it with soil.

After I’d scraped all the rust off and spray painted it.

After that all that was left to do was find a spot for it, and plant my flowers!

Here it all is the night I finished!

All said and done, it only took a few hours including the trip to Lowe’s.

Picture taken this morning- after nearly a month

So, be brave! If you find something on the side of the road that you might be able to spruce up a bit… DO IT! … just don’t become a hoarder. 🙂