Bright, Sunshiney Day

You can still see trees that didn’t make it, there in the river, but doesn’t the blue sky look wonderful?

This is the entirety of the blog post I started yesterday and never got back to: “Today is my birthday. I have now officially completed 58 trips around the sun (and we do, finally, have sun today).”

Much of the reason this didn’t go any further was the way the day unfolded, much more socially than anticipated, much more outdoors than anticipated, but I’m also having trouble, this last week at least, getting thoughts organized.

I am going to lay the blame for some of this on the weather. Not really the weather, the color of the sky. It turns out, which I already knew but it got hammered home hard last week, that I can’t do grey skies for extended lengths of time. Lengths like a week.

It was a gray, ugly week, starting Monday with the smoke of millions of acres blotting out the sun. It’s clear now: I won’t be among those surviving a nuclear winter. That sunless day was followed by an anticipated storm that wasn’t anticipated at all, given the amount of damage it caused.

I think we all assumed it would be your standard early snow, landing one day, gone the next. Instead, the gloom hovered for the reminder of the week, only clearing yesterday. About dang time.

So the sun came out, just in time for my birthday, and it dissipated all the gloom. And not just for me.

It took Oz and I two hours to navigate our neighborhood, and we didn’t make it nearly as far as we usually do on our Saturday Inspection Tour. What we like to do is go over and view the two houses that were built concurrently with ours, then swing a little farther over to take in the house that got underway in January, now across the road from an in-going foundation.

But we didn’t get very far before we ran into Mrs. Leonard and Maggie. Mrs. Leonard is on the mend from major shoulder surgery while Maggie, who looks like a spaniel-collie mix, is 12 and starting to feel her age. Mrs Leonard wasn’t expecting Maggie to want to go much past their driveway, but Maggie, perhaps buoyed by the appearance of the sun as well as the company of Oz, was ready to go exploring.

As a distanced group we walked across the recently-cleared path, ensnarled last week by tree detritus. Maggie might have kept going but I think Mrs. Leonard’s shoulder had had about as much as it could take, so they turned back toward home. Oz and I started forward and then realized a group coming our way included his friend Rufus (not the hummingbird who moved on long ago, but the Airedale terrier who lives with Fred and Lisa).

Fred and Lisa had just finished telling me that a man named Brian (Bryan?) has put an offer in on the lot directly behind them, as well as a second one down the road (with a plan to put his own house on one and a spec house on the other), when Brian himself arrived. Mr. Leonard drove by, keeping an eye on the tree removal process taking place around the neighborhood, and then Ken arrived home, right next to where we were all congregating.

We did also see two cars pass us, the drivers on the way to their new foundation (apparently going to be a house jointly owned by a brother, sister and their two spouses), but they probably didn’t realize they were missing an impromptu party.

It wasn’t all festive: Ken said he and his wife lost parts or the whole of 30 trees, and Lisa pointed out that we could now see her house from where we were standing, rather than the screen of trees that hid it just a few days ago. (Sadly, to build a house on his new lot, assuming his offer is accepted, Brian is going to have to take out a ton of trees and willows, plus multiple fox dens. Probably none of us should be out here.)

But the sun was shining and we all seemed glad to be out in it. I did finally take my leave of the party because the farmers’ market was calling, and then Lynn bought me a take-out birthday lunch that we ate out on our deck under her birthday umbrella in the company of several yellow jackets.

Lynn did miss the last of the roof snow sliding off into her poor smashed garden, although a lot of it continues to flower and the bees seem to be finding food. I tried to scrape this last insult of snow off the poor plants, but when I started scooping up leaves I gave up. I’m not sure it’s going to melt anytime soon, despite the temperature nearing 70 yesterday.

Then, while Lynn took the world’s longest nap, I decided to tackle my crawl space stairs on my own. Armed with the instruction of my previous projects and advice from my teacher from months back, I broke my own chop saw out and figured out the angles.

I approached this project with a lot more confidence than I had even a few months ago, and while it so far is still just disparate sticks of wood (the drill needed to be charged, which I didn’t realize until I tried to use it), I think it will work.

Birthday or no, it was a good day yesterday, even if I didn’t let you in on it in a timely fashion. The sun was shining — that’s really what mattered.

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