Through Fresh Eyes

100_2137-smAll week I weeded and tidied the yard in preparation for a pizza party on Friday night. I tried to make the sad, tired parts of the yard look less decrepit and free the nicer spots from their mantle of early summer weeds.

It’s a Sisyphean task—by Friday, the spots I had weeded on Monday were already sporting fresh weed growth.

So as the first guests arrived, I fretted over the shabby state of the yard and garden. As I looked around, I saw weeds, flowers that needed deadheading, outdoor furniture that should have been hosed off…

But no one noticed my weeds, aside from those guests studying particular ones (it was a party of ecologists, after all, and they were thrilled to find their research subjects ‘in the wild’).

Instead, they saw the musical instruments, the blooming flowers, the fish in the pond, the cat playing with a grass stalk, the places for playing and relaxing. They saw all the things we love about the yard, and never noticed the twitch sprouting in the paths and the flecks of bird poo on the deck chairs.

“This is awesome!” cried one guest as he beat out a rhythm on the outdoor drum set.

“It all looks so fresh…like it’s all new,” said another.

Throughout the evening kids and adults alike wandered around, feeding goats, playing outdoor instruments, grazing on raspberries, sitting on the benches tucked here and there, climbing trees, playing lawn games, and feasting on produce from the garden, baked in the new bread oven. Everyone smiled. Everyone relaxed.

It was good to see the property through their eyes for the evening. I focus so closely on the work that needs to be done, that sometimes I forget that, even with weeds or grass that needs mowing, the place is a haven. Sometimes I forget to put away the to-do list and just enjoy the place. I struggle to stop and smell the roses without also noticing they need to be pruned.

So thank you to all the guests who joined us Friday night. You gave me a fresh perspective and gave me permission to slack off a little this weekend—to just be here.

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