Solar Tracking

Solar Tracking
How low can you go? Snow and ice and cancelled school.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Al and the onions

My neighbor Al and his big black dog Sweetie showed up on my doorstep a few days ago.
“Hey,” he shouted (Al always shouts. You can hear him greeting a passerby a block away.) “Thanks for the bread! It was great.”
“Anytime—the wheelbarrow was really helpful.”
“I’ve brought these over for you.” He waved some greenish stalks that looked like straw. “Walla Wallas. Thought you might have some room for ‘em.”
“Cool. I’ll find a home for them.” I patted Sweetie, a well-named dog if there ever was one.
He nodded and tugged on Sweetie’s leash. A few moments later, I spotted him hauling a table out of the dumpster across the way and checking it for stability. It passed inspection; he hoisted it up on his shoulder and took it home, where it would wait until next week, when he went into work at Habitat. I went out back and tucked the onions into one of the new beds, right before the next deluge.

Two days later, I was sprawled on the floor, touching up some trim paint, under Lucy the Cat’s watchful eye. I never did this for a rental, I thought. I just moved when the back corners were grubby, about once every two years. My life changed and so did my address. It was good. But now, I live here, and I’m not moving, so I’m painting. It’s pale purple paint, under a sage green wall and butter yellow ceiling—a radical shift from the cheap white paint the pervious owners sprayed one weekend before they sold the house. We paint colors we love—we make changes to the yard and structure to make living here more pleasant for us. We don’t plan on selling our home—and neither does Al, who’s is quite stubborn about not letting the Lutherans, who own the other houses on his block, buy his place and turn it into a church parking lot.

And maybe this is what we all need to do—inhabit our spaces like we are going to spend our lives here, because, the truth is, we are. We need to paint for ourselves, not for the next buyers. Build shelves to hold our books and canned goods. Put in a fruit tree that we love and harvest the apples six years later. And get to know our neighbors, send bread and eggs, onions and tomatoes, information about city council meetings and new senior rescue dogs up and down the street. This is my home, and it very clear to me on rainy March afternoons.

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