Sunday, December 19, 2010


I went home to visit my family. The past few days had been dizzying and I was still trying to center myself. I grabbed a cup of tea and I made my way out to the backyard.

It was a very overcast day. My feet were cold but I didn't feel like putting my shoes on.  I sat down on one of the patio chairs, had a sip of tea, and took a long look around.

A few years ago I spent a great deal of time and effort trying to fix up the backyard. I had planted some jasmine along the beams holding up the patio, I cleaned up  and mulched the area around the pool, and I removed what felt like a thousand weeds.

Today, I sit with my tea and glance at a yard cast grey from the clouds. The jasmine was mowed down within days of planting it. The area around the pool has become a field of weeds that have withered from the recent cold weather. They have still managed to choke out the other plants I put there years earlier.

The orange tree that I used to love to climb as a child is slowly dying off. The swing set that my grandfather had given us has long been scrapped. The bird feeder used to attract several birds and squirrels but today a stillness swallows the yard. If my dog was still alive she would be outside with me, but today it is just me and my notebook.

There are three specks of paint on the patio from an art project I had done a while ago. I spent so much time in this backyard, yet those three specks of paint remain the only tangible proof I was ever here.

Every time I come home one of the first things I always do is go to the backyard. I think part of me expects it to look like the way I left it years ago. I know part of me still expects to see my dog out here. It is so easy to picture her in the patch of grass between the pool and the tree.

I've done so many amazing things with my life, but sometimes this backyard is a caustic reminder that the accomplishments I've made at home don't seem to be lasting ones. Sometimes you have to take your roots and plant them somewhere else.

I take a sip of my tea, which has by now gone cold. The wind picks up and rustles the leaves of the trees.  I hold my notebook against my lap and feel the cold from the ground coming up through my feet. Sometimes you outgrow the original pot you are planted in.

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