Today was sort of a melancholy waste. You see, I didn’t really accomplish anything. Usually, when I worked in corporate America, we’d get Good Friday off of work to do whatever. I suppose I used up my day off today (Holy Thursday if you’re religious and of the appropriate denomination).
Last night the thermostat inexplicably glowed red. The darkened text prompting us to call for service. So this morning I called and thankfully they scheduled someone to come out in the afternoon.
Turns out the capacitor in the Water Furnace broke. It was fixed under warranty, although we still had to pay for the service call; $125. I also had the technician show me how to program the thermostat. Apparently the thermostat we have, is in fact able to be programmed. For whatever reason, no one ever showed me or told me. It’s not completely intuitive but I’ll figure it out. My goal is to see if we can cut down our electrical usage, and gas for that matter, by turning the hybrid system down at night while we’re sleeping during the winter, or higher during the day during Summer when we’re awake. I will fiddle with it and see if I can impact our utility bills any.
I just wasn’t inspired creatively today, and the sun was out again after three days of snow and cold. So I put my old L.L. Bean boots on and stepped out for a walk. Everyone else was out running errands or playing at their grandmother’s house.
It was just me and my camera walking today.
The goal this afternoon was to find proof of Spring, for I had finally seen the green tinge in the woods the day before the snow fell, as I drove up the driveway.
My boots carried me over to the pond and confirmed that there was still I nice amount of water there. I stood there for a decent amount of time; searching for feelings, direction…some sort of definition. All I found was clear water and blue skies.
I admired an old dead tree, looking up and down. I guess looking straight ahead is our curse, for we miss so much. Looking up I could see where pileated woodpeckers fashioned perfectly round little holes. Earth bound my eyes spied fungi working their way up the trunk of the tree, converting it from solid and eternal to food for the next generation.
Creeping through the meadow I visited John’s tree, starting to bud, and my ill-fated transplant as well, both near the garden. Beyond that the bees were busy flying in and out of the hive. Warm sun drenching their backs.
Still thinking, still searching I found myself in the woods. There is an incredible, subtle stand of undulating trees on the adjacent properties to ours. From our line you can see quite a ways, so for all intents and purposes they may as well be our woods. Presumably, and hopefully these landlocked areas will never be developed. The woods aren’t something that someone without sensibilities can admire behind the glass of some uninspiring house. No, they are discovered. I find myself looking back over my shoulder, wondering if I’m going to get caught as I try to lose myself in those trees.
It’s futile to try to understand it all in one visit. The small intimate view is like a three-dimensional work of art. My courage limiting me to view it from the corner of our property. Not for some real or perceived danger, but rather I’m not done viewing it from this angle yet. My mind not ready to change the perception by venturing into its center.
As I walk over the rise, the realities of man can be seen if you’re keen enough – a brown roof there, a white window frame just beyond the hedge row clearing in the distance. Soon though even visuals of man’s endeavors won’t be able to betray the sanctity of the place. Nature will envelop the area as green buds and sprouts turn to leaves. The scenery will change, though part of the charm is the large pine trees. They stand tall. Their pride renders the ground around them relatively barren. There’s only room for them in this part of my woods. Another reason for me to watch from the sideline, one might think.
With the crack of a smile I turned and headed back, working my way past a dusting of green, tending to the thorny bits as not to get stuck. Back I walked towards more familiar surroundings, and soggy ground. Down the deer path, past the birch, finally I reached the yard. I did my obligatory inspection of the red buds (budding), the choke and service berries (they presumably are just as fed up with Winter as we are – their leaves are clearly emerging). And lastly, yes, even all of my apples appear to be ready to show us their leaves soon.
I had another friend die this week. We had worked together on and off for close to fourteen years. We weren’t like “go hang out socially” close, but we did have good conversations on the phone or during the course of our life’s work. She had good advice, listened to me in times of despair, and encouraged me over the course of the last year after I lost my job and started working as a freelance designer. I think it’s been two years at least since we met in person.
I like to think in some ways she probably understood me or appreciated me, whatever the right word is, beyond what you’d expect from knowing so very little about each other, or on such limited interactions. At least that was my perception, and barring any other evidence, I go with that theory. She was a genuine person to me, and we respected each other – our design sense, our perspective on work and that the little things in life are ultimately more important. And because of all of this I struggle with what to think.
And even thinking about it begs broader questions about life and death. About relationships, from random one time encounters with a homeless guy on the street to acquaintances that come and go, to lifelong friendships; to family.
It was really unbelievable to get the news on Monday, when she and I had nonchalantly been exchanging computer files and emails on Friday. It was just like any other day. We were collaborating on a project. I had just talked to her on the phone on Thursday. If I had known, what could or would I have said differently? Certainly “goodbye” in some form or another. Or more accurately, at least shared how I appreciated that she was always nice to me; understood me.
But who says those things, when all you’re doing is making a quick call to get approval to goto to a store for a work project? Or whatever other random phone calls, emails or interactions we do in the course of our busy days.
In our lives there are an army of people we will meet. Figure out which ones need to know that you appreciate them, for whatever reason – they have awesome taste in fashion, they make you laugh, they helped you bury a body back in the 90’s, they’re related to you…you love them. They love you.
And let them know, in your way.
Yes, you’ll go mad, and they’ll think you’re nuts if you tell every freaking person you know “Hey dude, I love you” and then start sobbing uncontrollably over the phone. But you know who they are and what you have to do. It’s a simple as saying “Hey, you know what, this probably sounds strange, but I thought about what you said (or did or whatever it is) and I really appreciate it. I’m glad we met (or you did that or whatever).” And so forth.
I really think they need to know.
You decide how much and how often, but make sure they know. It might be enough to help them, or you for that matter, somewhere down the line.
I sat in those woods today and tried to make heads or tails of life. And I didn’t really discover anything that made any sense. Maybe though it was the act and not the thought that mattered. In a way maybe life is like sitting on the property line, looking at the woods. It’s beautiful. It’s a treasure. I can venture out there, and will someday, seeing the trees in a whole new way.
In different seasons.
But ultimately I have to cross back over the line.
Someone will come by; accuse me of trespassing.
Or it’ll get dark.
Or I’ll miss home, and my family.
Looking at the woods…being in the woods, is beautiful.
But it’s also temporary.