Sunday, August 28, 2011

One stick at a time

The words haven't been coming to me this summer.  Frustratingly, I've started lots of posts never to finish them.  
Daytime firepit...who knew you could enjoy that?  My dad's a rulebreaker.

Our new lake house is a pleasant distraction from my distraction.  The house faces west so the sun is a long time coming over the trees to the dock, but it makes for a pretty morning with the creep of the light over the rooftop cutting through the trees, casting the brightest light and deepest shadows in the yard. Superimposed fern silhouettes layer one over another in a feathery pattern of every possible shade of green.  It's peaceful and natural.  But then when that gets boring, just follow me five miles up the road for cocktail hour and a cooked meal in Minocqua.

The paths begin to take shape
Olivia's gone to college and she's thriving according to local reports.  I'm more than surviving and less than thriving with her departure. It's just weird.  But as I've told my friends, all the registration stuff for high school came in the mail and none of it had Olivia's name on it so I knew she had to go.  You don't have to be independent but you can't stay here.

My dad and I headed north last weekend for a look at our house and it took him all of ten minutes before his knees were in the dirt.  A huge woodpile/mudpile had been plowed/bobcatted against a little grove of trees to clear the way for digging up the old septic tank.  A giant mess of tangled cut wood, plants and dirt that had been burrowed and co-opted by chipmunks who clucked and scampered and scolded whenever anybody came near.  So much literal dead wood, I couldn't face it!  Chip tried to tackle it a few weeks ago and I made him stop.  It seemed insurmountable.  But piece by piece, my dad, who doesn't heed me like Chip does, began to root through the pile pieces one by one for the most burnable to least burnable wood and stacked it painstakingly.

"Dad, stop. It's too much."
"Why should I stop?  I love working like this."
"How can you love it?  It's overwhelming.  I don't even know where to begin out here in the yard, there's so much debris."
"Jul, you just move it one stick at a time until it's done."

One stick at a time.  Big tasks have been scary lately.  I don't know if it's been the unsettling nature of sending a kid to college, going back to work, or just getting older.  But my dad's simple words freed me for the weekend, by simply telling me to start the task.