I am someone who always tries to see the upside of things. Sometimes it’s harder to do than other times. I’ve learned to see the potential in situations and objects that perhaps other people don’t. A little belief and hope can go a long way toward achieving your dreams and as I often say, I always have hope!
While doing yard work two weekends ago, I looked behind my smaller shed and realized for the first time that there was a wooden bench thrown back in among the prickers. I don’t know how I’ve missed it the past two summers but the moment I saw it, I saw potential.
It looked sturdy and solid so I stepped back in among the prickers and dragged it out, suffering numerous scratches to my shins and forearms in the process. Once I set it upright in the grass I discovered it was a little dirty and a little wobbly. Nothing a good sanding and tightening of screws couldn’t fix!
I’ve been wanting a bench to sit in and enjoy my yard and I felt it rather fortunate that the previous owners had discarded something that I knew I could easily refurbish. With some sanding, adjustments, painting and the addition of a cushion, I felt the bench could be a lasting addition to my property. I also decided that I wanted to have it all fixed up by my father’s birthday so I could dedicate it to his memory. It seemed simple enough.
The following Friday I headed out after my office job on the quest for a bench cushion and paint. I’ve become rather fond of spray painting because it covers fast and dries quickly so I picked up some medium blue spray paint at the store. I thought I’d be able to find a bench cushion in the same store but alas none of the cushions they carried were even remotely appealing. I also realized that one-piece replacement bench cushions might not exist. I then checked three more stores but couldn’t find an adequate replacement cushion and I felt extremely discouraged.
I’m not one to throw in the towel so I decided I’d at least sand and paint the bench Saturday and head out Sunday on the cushion quest again. Saturday was a beautiful spring day and I spent almost the entire day outside mowing, weed whacking, trimming trees, raking, cleaning my car, walking Jazz and yes, I even managed to fit in thoroughly sanding the bench and tightening the screws. I was exhausted by the end of the day but still hopeful that Sunday I’d find a cushion for the bench.
Sunday dawned bright and beautiful as the sun streamed in through the curtains of my end window. I’d planned on getting an early start but my tired body said otherwise so I lingered in bed until almost 9am. Once fed, showered and dressed I headed out to the nearby town where I was certain one of the stores would have the cushions I needed. The downside of it being such a lovely weekend was that everyone had already been to the stores and pretty well depleted the stock of attractive replacement cushions. I now knew there was no way I was going to find a one-piece bench cushion so I’d decided I’d buy two chair cushions. Even that decisions didn’t seem to help.
I finally found cushions that were pretty, inexpensive and the right size and I was able to return home triumphant. I placed the two replacement chair cushions on the bench and they fit perfectly! I was so pleased with myself. That afternoon my oldest daughter, Jordan helped me spray paint the bench and as it was windy, that proved quite an interesting undertaking. By the time we’d put two coats on the bench, my arms and legs were speckled with blue paint.
That task accomplished, I set about refurbishing the red Radio Flyer wagon my mother had given me. It had been sitting out behind my house in the elements so the inside had become too rusty to safely sit in. I’d had the brilliant idea to use it as a planter for the flowers that were overcrowding my pots and I felt it could be a little portable garden. I placed rocks down in a layer then the soil on top and dug in with bare hands, playing in the dirt until all of my snapdragons, pansies and daisies were happily planted. Once it was complete and the chair was dry enough to put the cushions on, I set both projects under my big back pine tree and snapped a photo of my accomplishments.
I’d done it! I’d finished the bench and the wagon garden by my father’s birthday! I knew his spirit was proud of me and I was proud of myself. My daughters and I sat on the bench that evening watching the birds at my back feeder and the bluebird even made an appearance atop my other back pine tree. The next evening my mother came over for dinner for my father’s birthday and we sat in the bench watching the birds again. It was very calm, comfortable and peaceful.
I’d discovered yet again that even the simplest seeming plans don’t always turn out being that way. Never giving up hope and purpose really are the key to success at anything and sometimes if you can’t go over an obstacle, you have to find a creative way around it. Life is all about the journey and it’s full of more than a single destination. Adventures don’t have to happen in exotic, far off places. They exist right in your own backyard.