Wednesday, April 16, 2014


Spring is finally, finally here, despite the cold weather for the next few days. I'm ridiculously grateful, and spent last weekend sprucing up our very limited outside spaces: our balcony, and the little front lot.

And the front lot was disgusting. I wish I had remembered to take a "before" picture, but imagine a scraggly bunch of mostly dead ivy spilling out a foot onto the sidewalk. When I cut away the ivy, I had to scoop years worth of dead and decaying leaves which had turned into soil, and when I started digging up the dead roots, I found a beer bottle, a crushed aluminum can (for malt liquor), a small collection of plastic number stickers that used to adorn the front of our house, a little girl's hair barrette, some wire, and innumerable shards of window glass. I felt like a very short-term archaeologist, discovering pieces of the recent past.

After the ground was cleared, I mixed in some fertilizer, dug a few holes and put some pansies in, knowing that they're a hardy bunch and could probably handle whatever comes their way this summer, despite the damaged soil. The last step was mulching around them. Mulching is always really satisfying, not only because mulch keeps the moisture in when the weather gets hot, but because it always makes what you do look way more professional than it actually is, as in, look how much better these crappy pansies I bought for four dollars look now. (By the way, the garden center on West Virginia and New York is way cheaper than the Home Depot.)

The Vicar's "front yard" April 12, 2014
The difference between what was once there, a scraggly, smelly mess, and what is now there, something that helps the neighborhood look and be better than what it was, is not in money (it cost less than $15 for the materials) or in time (it really only took two hours) or in talent (clearly, my flower bed design is lacking in genius). The difference is intentionality. Intentionality is greeting your neighbor when you see her in the street -- it doesn't cost money, and it doesn't take that much time. Intentionality is paying attention to how your actions affect those around you. Intentionality is seeing, with new eyes, the potential of what's in a person, not what's presenting on the surface, and interacting with that person based on their potential, not their ugliness. In the end, intentionality is the difference between a group of people who live in the same geographic area, and a community.

We'll see how this little flower bed grows. Maybe the frost, or the heat, or my dog, or something else will kill off the pansies. That would be too bad, but if they don't make it, that's okay. I'll just plant something else.

1 comment:

  1. The spring flowers look beautiful! Go Bec with your green thumb! ;)