Privilege Blog

To Be This AND That

Sometimes our efforts to stretch, to take a risk, to be both this and that, leave us humbled. Humbled and muddy.

I have a pond in my backyard. I’ve always been the type to avoid home maintenance. It scares me. But it’s never to late to learn, or so I hoped. In the last few years the pond had become more of a puddle. A home for wayward mosquito larvae. I was determined to get it back. To become a High WASP 52-year old former executive and a robust, hardy, no-nonsense woman capable of things like pond maintenance.

I bought plants. I put plants in the pond. Set them up on overturned plastic pot containers with gravel. This is what it looked like. Gracious living at its best. Make special note of that lovely purple-leafed plant in the background. You will want to remember what it looks like later.

The next morning I went outside. All the pots had fallen over. I set them up again. Overnight they fell down again. I set them up. Next morning, down.

I was determined. I called the nursery. They said try setting the plants on cinder blocks. Orchard Supply was out of the right size. I had to go to Egypt.

Not really. But that’s how I felt. This is the garden materials supply store. The presence of heavy equipment made it clear I wasn’t in Egypt. But didn’t make me feel much safer. I was overwhelmed.

Still determined, I drove around in terror, startling at each very large bulldozer. I eventually convinced someone to help me load 7 cinderblocks into my car. To help me load 2 30 pounds bags of gravel into selfsame car.

I paid at the window. I drove home. I carried each cinderblock to the pond. I laid them this way and that way, lengthwise, sideways, stacked, alone. I spent an hour kneeling on pavers, up to my shoulder in stagnant pond water, dropping my glasses here and there, cursing, completely drunk with sun and the strength that remains in my upper body to this day.

I took a shower. I washed my hair. I basked in the glory of my competence and independence.


12 Responses

  1. Oh dear….I want to hear the rest of the story too.

    I must be honest… when I read your first paragraph…"Sometimes our efforts to stretch, to take a risk, to be both this and that, leave us humbled. Humbled and muddy."…it was like you were writing from my life and heart. As of late, my taking risks and trying to be this and that has left me stretched beyond my limits. And these things have humbled me and left me muddy. Your words gave me hope for some reason…maybe as a reminder that it's okay to be humbled and to get dirty…more importantly that I will get back up again and try all over again and this is not the end of my story.
    Thank you!

  2. Smiles, your life risks beat mine. You are to be commended for what you have taken on and i hope people passing by take a look at your blog But I think the story, on a higher level, is as you say, similar.

  3. Funny post! I have a mental image of someone standing in a vast industrial gardening center taking pictures of huge mounds of gravel and soil! Looking forward to the next installment…

  4. Oh dear! I do hope it all works out!

    Totally unrelated, but look at that sky! So gorgeous.

  5. Funny, I've decided not too long ago to stay away from hauling anything…, I hope this story has a happy ending.

  6. Oh, now – that's not fair! I have to wait to see what happened to the lovely purple plant??

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