Autumn is upon me, here in the nether region between I Don’t Want to Live Here Anymore and Now I Live Somewhere Else. When you exist in a shadow world such as this, you tread a fine line between the Things that You Have to Do But Don’t Want To and the Things That You Just Aren’t Going To Do Anymore.
Normally, for one such as I, enforced activity restraint can be hard. I like to do stuff and do stuff fairly constantly, making lists, ticking my boxes, updating my lists, and moving on. I am like a project shark that way, always moving. This year was a bit different for me, as the summer of 2012 turned out to be The Summer I Did Not Garden. Having decided in the spring that I had added enough plants and reaching a psychological tipping point on purchasing any more, I had already decided by mid-June that I would turn my attention to other activities.
It was while engaged one of these other activities that I decided to try to cut my thumb off. Not with a power tool like a regular idiot, but with my Japanese dozuki saw like an idiot who decided to break every rule of his own devising when it comes to using the right tool for the right job and being careful. The wound might have kept my hands out of the dirt for a week or so, but it became infected and the ensuing effort to keep MRSA, flesh-eating strep- and staph-lococcus, and some loitering carnies out of the wound kept me relatively inert for almost a month. HEED MY ADVICE! Do Not Try to Cut Your Thumb Off!
When I was mostly healed, I gave the clearing a good weeding and herniated a disc. And
thaaaat was August. So…this summer I weeded my yard twice and watered regularly (wipes brow with handkerchief). Oh, yeah, I took a lot of photos, too.
So to be in the suspended animation of home-for-sale-ownership is not that big of a change, although I briefly made myself unpopular by telling my wife and daughter that the Real Estate sign was just a trick to get them to put their stuff away.
I need to thank everyone, readers and friends, who have given enthusiastic support for this rather precipitous decision. A lot of people, if not most, assume that the lunacy of the Mitigation Plan is the primary reason for selling, and it is not: as a family, we grew very accustomed to living a certain way at our previous home, and we felt that we could change and adapt to how we would live in the new one. As it happens, my wife and daugher are creatures of extreme habit and there is no thing that they can change, apart from their outfits several times a day, if they do not want to. I don’t say this as criticism but as acknowledgement that they both loved our old house and the way they lived in and around it in a way that makes living here harder. And that makes me love them all the more, and me too. We are the people we are.
The Mitigation Plan is an irritant, to be sure. If I had a normal suburban yard, and an animal wandered in and ate something, at its heart that is merely something that happened. But in my yard, where I am compelled to do things a certain way, when the animal eats something, that is something that is being done to me. But I learned something last Sunday, after an open house: some folks had sent their kids outside to…um…play. When I came home, there were a couple dozen mosses pulled up, nursesticks and logs strewn about, general disorder and damage in a number of places. And I was mad. Not because of the damage and the negation of my work…but because I was concerned for the site, for the forest, for the mosses. Turns out, I actually have developed a love–of some sort or another–for my clearing of native plants.
My wife and I talk about it a lot, that the Mitigation Plan and its strictures are largely only ours. We needed to close out our building permits and needed our Certificate of Domestic Occupancy–we HAD to agree to the Plan. It is ironic that anyone who comes after me likely will not have too much effect from these things. Water a little bit. Have a mossy stick fight. Plant some tulip bulbs. Build a tree house. Cut some trees down back there, beyond the clearing, to make some more open space. The city isn’t going to revoke permit approval or withdraw the CDO. It’s my name on all those things and if they haven’t come around to check up on me, there is no reason why they would for anyone else. Just don’t try to get a permit for that sport court and stadium lighting.
As autumn begins to draw its veil on my clearing, I have a few more things to do, some projects that won’t cost anything but time and some effort. Projects that only I will really be able to ‘see,’ but that will add value to the outdoor space and make living in the home more pleasant–for anyone who might come after us, or us if we wind up staying. The next few weeks will mostly just be a test. A test to see how the real estate market likes our house; a test of our will to live with uncertainty; a test of my theory that my moss will respond to the change of light at the equinox and come out of dormancy. Pretty soon, I’ll have to start vacuuming up my leaves, too.