Saturday, October 15, 2016

The mind's scenery

So I was sitting at my kitchen table, minding my own business, reading on my Kindle, when I heard a buzzing noise. I hoped it was someone running a weed whacker in the neighborhood, but I soon saw what I most feared: a wasp. It was buzzing around a light fixture in my living room, sometimes bumping on the glass cover.

I fear stinging insects a great deal.

It seemed attracted by the light, so I closed the blinds on all the windows, opened my door, leaving the screen door closed, then turned off the lights. I stood near the light fixture to monitor the wasp's whereabouts because if it disappeared in the house and I didn't know where, I would live in fear.

After a little while it dropped to the floor, then flew to the screen door. I slammed the big door behind it, so it was trapped between the solid door and the screen door. I cautiously re-opened the big door a little bit to see if I dared stick my arm into the space to open the screen door. The wasp had dropped again, this time to the threshold. I opened the screen door, and it flew off.

Hooray. Insect problem solved without my suffering a sting or getting grossed out by having to squish it.

Earlier, I had brought some little decorative items inside from my deck. We're expecting a big windstorm this afternoon and evening, so I cleared up stuff that might blow around this morning. I suspect the wasp was hiding in something I brought it. It probably had gone dormant in the cool fall weather then woke up inside my warm house.

I felt glad to get my deck cleared up for the winter. This spring and summer I never really got it looking even presentable. I tried a couple times--I cleaned out the pond, I bought a few plants--but I never followed through. I never refilled the pond with water (the rain is starting to fill it now) and never re-potted the plants (they've died in the plastic pots they came in). Even plants that survived last winter died of neglect this summer.

The mess and disarray somehow symbolized my emotions this year, as my parents' health has declined. My mom moved from assisted living to a skilled nursing facility, and my dad moved from independent living to assisted living. They are both frail, and it hurts to see them lose their strength. My sadness and anxiety about them, and the time spent responding to their needs, took up my energy and I had none left for nurturing plants. All summer the disorder and ugliness of my deck was a visual reminder of how I felt.

Now, the deck is plain, but it is orderly. It's just like it is any other winter, hibernating until spring. I hope that next spring I will be able to return to my old ways of growing flowers and making a beautiful space out there. And clearing it up, putting away tools I had left out, marking it "finished for this year," is a relief. All I have left is probably a couple more times mowing, when the weather is dry, just to mulch the leaves that are falling and neaten it up before leaving the outdoors to its own devices.

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