I Can Quit Any Time!

Really. I can quit any time. I just need to get “enough” done, then I will stop. Just….one….more….


I admit it–I’m a lazy gardener. Whenever I get plants or seeds or bushes or anything alive, I sit it down for a serious talk. “Listen”, I tell it, “I am not good at plants. I don’t talk to them or play music or rig up fancy grow lights. If you are lucky, I May remember to water you. . . but don’t count on it!”

So I have the best intentions–I just stink at follow-through. I love starting things. Filling pots with dirt, sprinkling seeds or settling tiny plants into the soil. It’s soothing to me. But then I lose interest and the weeds usually end up winning.

There is one landscaping project, though, that I can’t give up. Like a tenacious little terrier with a bone, I keep going back to it and digging away. Small successes only feed my obsession, driving me to do just a little more and a little more and…

My obsession is a sidewalk. More specifically, a brick sidewalk. The bricks are heavy things, firmly embedded in the ground, their curvy sides snuggly fitting together and trod on for decades. The house is older than me. Hard to tell how old the sidewalk is, but certainly old enough that the giant tree out front has pushed a number of the bricks out of their ancient symmetry.

Several years back I got the notion that we should tear up the sidewalk and perhaps do stepping stones instead–something that would adapt more easily to the uneven terrain of our yard. Something less…structured. And ok, it bothered me that the sidewalk path had no logic to it other than what was considered “right”.

It leads in a straight path from front door to community sidewalk. All prim and proper and…..pointless. No one uses it. We traverse a diagonal from the driveway to the house. The mailman walks across the yard, traveling the shortest distance from the neighbor’s mailbox to ours. The sidewalk only gets used by the yearly parade of trick or treaters and by the sellers of magazines or siding or religion or other vendors who are not scared off by barking dogs.

Maybe that is  the main reason I dig at the bricks year after year. My contrariness. Never wanting to follow the expected path. I am still that 70’s rebel, and I feel the triumph of each liberated brick.

Though it strains my back and makes my hands swell and ache, I continue to dig. While I work, I think of my favorite poem by Robert Frost–‘The Road Not Taken.’

“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood….”

I’m pretty sure neither road was made of bricks. And they definitely weren’t straight and boring.

One thought on “I Can Quit Any Time!

  1. Love this. I’m still trying to figure out why somebody planted cacti in old tires in our yard. I also have a very brown thumb. Good luck with that sidewalk!


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