Lunch Walks Down Main Street

Mystery blossoms on a fruit tree shaped into a bush

Mystery blossoms on a fruit tree shaped into a bush

Tons of tulips and other flowers

Tons of tulips and other flowers

Tulip Tree blossoms about to bloom

Tulip Tree blossoms about to bloom

I only work part-time at my office job so I get a half hour lunch break every day before most people even think about lunch. When the weather is nice like it finally is here, the highlight of my work day is going for a walk down Main Street on my break.

Spring has finally sprung so flowers are blooming, leaves are coming out and birds are flitting happily about. I love to see how things change from day-to-day. The tulips open up more, the hyacinth blooms get too top-heavy and droop over, forsythia bushes burst out in yellow flowers and fruit trees show off with lovely pink, red and white blossoms. I always stop to smell the flowers, take pictures and feel joy that I don’t suffer from seasonal allergies.

I’ve always got my ear buds in listening to my latest mix on my MP3 player and the tempo of the music influences my pace. This week’s mix consists of Usher, Olly Murs and Little Mix so I’ve been really strutting down the Main Street sidewalks. I’ve also thrown in a little sound clip of Iron Man saying “Doth Mother know you weareth her drapes?” from my favorite movie, The Avengers. Every time that clips comes on I can’t help but grin!

I encounter a few of the same people when I walk and usually smile or say “hi” as I pass. There’s an older gentlemen who walks his dog named Daisy and we always exchange pleasantries. Daisy is an adorable little Shepherd mix and she came from Happy Tails which is the same shelter I adopted Jazz from. She’s also still learning the right way to walk just like Jazz. Daisy is always friendly and happy to see me and I can tell she has a great heart.

I do occasionally get honked at by passing cars and motorcycles and I find that amusing. It’s also somewhat flattering because it means that even as a single mother of two, I’ve still got what it takes to grab a little bit of attention now and then. Honk away but don’t expect me to stop because I have the sun to warm me, the clouds to shade me, the wind to cool me, a beat to walk to, flowers to sniff and admire and a mission to accomplish. Just another girl on a walk down Main Street…

Strength, rocks and cinder blocks

bonfire flames

The flames of my first bonfire, summer 2012

hedgerow cinderblocks

The cinder blocks were stacked behind an old burn barrel

cinderblock toss

Cinder block toss: a new Olympic sport!

cinder block firepit

Cinder block bonfire surround

I’m not afraid of hard work and I don’t mean just hard mental work, I mean hard physical work. I am the sole owner of 1.4 acres of land in Upstate NY and it falls squarely upon my shoulders to improve and maintain my property. I do what needs to be done when it needs to be done and I never back down from a new landscaping challenge.

As stated in my “Not Profound” post every single tree I own is messy and drops branches, pine cones or leaf sticks. The spring cleanup of my yard is an ongoing process as with every strong wind more mess falls from the trees. My first spring in my home was last year and I gathered a decent pile of branches and pine cones. There was no designated bonfire pit in the yard because the previous owners apparently burned everything but the kitchen sink in barrels. So I picked a spot toward the back of my property, dumped the branches there and proclaimed it my bonfire pit. A proper bonfire pit is surrounded with rocks to define it but surprisingly enough, I’ve yet to find any big rocks on my property.

Last year was my first bonfire and it went off quite well with my girls, two close friends, ample s’mores and a couple of Samuel Adams Summer Ales. I’ve already started this year’s pile and while it isn’t as large as last year, judging by the wind again today, it will be soon. I still really wanted a true border around it so I began investigating the hedgerow between my property and the neighbors. Monday morning I discovered that behind one of the old burn barrels was a decent sized stack of cinder blocks. I fought through the vines and prickers for a closer look and concluded that the blocks had never been used for anything. I’d found my bonfire border! I resolved to get the blocks out of there that afternoon following work and went about my day.

Monday afternoon arrived and it was a beautiful, relatively warm day. My daughters were more than happy to play outside on the swing set and in the yard so I went out in work clothes determined to get the job done. I knew I wouldn’t want to carry every single block across the yard one at a time so I moved my wheelbarrow over near them for transport. In order to reach the pile I had to walk over a rather large mound of old ashes and burnt whatever and it was somewhat squishy and less than stable.

Wearing my leather work gloves, I yanked and pulled at the nest of vines until I could get at the pile and then picked up my first cinder block. That was literally the first time I’ve ever moved a cinder block and they were lighter than I expected but still a substantial workout for my arms. I carried that block over the squishy mound and into the wheelbarrow and repeated the process twice more before becoming fed up with that idea. I then began throwing the blocks out toward the wheelbarrow in a sort of backyard Olympics sport and I was impressed with my own strength.

I could put four cinder blocks in the wheelbarrow and still be able to move it so I made as many trips as it took to get the blocks over to the fire pit where I began placing them around in a circle. By the time I finished that job I was pretty beat. I’d pinched my hands between two blocks more than once, banged them into my hips and legs and scraped up my forearms because I’d become too hot in my sweatshirt to keep it on. Even so, I was ridiculously proud of myself and would do it all over again if need be. I’d accomplished what I wanted to and my bonfire pit finally looked substantial and permanent.

Everything I do on my property and in my house fills me with a deep sense of pride and increases my belief in my own abilities. I’m gaining tons of experience and discovering that yes, I can do whatever I put my mind to because I’ve successfully done so numerous times in the past. My long distance friend, who knows a lot about hard work himself, gave me a virtual pat on the back and while I don’t do any of this for acknowledgement or praise, it felt really good! A little “good job, Julie!” sticks with me as I tackle my next challenge and every other challenge along the way.

Touching Spring

One of my lilac bushes overflowing with buds!

One of my lilac bushes overflowing with buds!

This past winter was rough. Never ending snow and cold and misery. I looked hopefully forward to spring and warmth and when it finally seemed to arrive I was ecstatic! Alas then the cold returned and just this past Saturday it snowed. I had a lot of writing work to do this weekend so staying inside was fine but I didn’t enjoy seeing flakes blowing past my windows the third week of April. I know there have been winter storms in May before where I live and I remember them less than fondly. I have no desire or energy for that.

When it has warmed up periodically this “spring” I’ve rejoiced in the golden sunshine and bright blue skies. All the trees are budded out eager to release leaves and my beloved lilacs will have a bumper crop this year! If only it would warm up and say warm!

Lilacs are my favorite flower. I grew up with an entire row of them growing behind my childhood home. Their sweet fragrance in the spring still evokes happy memories and I could lay beneath their lavender and white blossoms for hours contentedly. Last year almost all of my beautiful blooms wilted and expired because the weather warmed up way too early in March and then got so cold the night-time frost damaged the flowers beyond recovery. So this year I am hoping for redemption! I want to be able to hold bushels of lovely lilacs in my hands and bury my nose in them until I’m intoxicated by their natural perfume.

For now I must wait because Mama Nature is grumpy after the winter and is less than forthcoming with consistent warmth. I’ve joked with my friends that someone needs to get Mama Nature some chocolate or a fun spring fling to alleviate her hormonal mood swings. I am just as eager to bloom and soak up the sunshine as the flowers and trees around here. I want to do more than just touch a hint of spring here and there, I long to be completely caressed and encompassed in its renewal and beauty.