“The only person I ever lost and needed back was myself.” ~ Tinybuddha
A rare day of sun in Kentucky saw the steam rolling off the monsoon soaked fence. It’s temporarily unnerving to step outside and the entire neighborhood looks like it’s on fire until the reality, and the beauty, sink in. It’s a really pretty sight,
“If you don’t want to burn out, stop living like you’re on fire.” ~ Unknown
I’m walking along the alley when I see them dog-eared above the fence. It’s not that banana trees don’t grow in Kentucky, it’s that they don’t naturally grow in Kentucky. And for the few hearty souls who transplant the poor things year after year, because one has to or they’ll up and die the first winter, it must be a labour of love. It would have to be to go through the routine year after year. But hey, it just goes to show ya that you can grow a banana tree this far north if you’re willing to do the work. Although, there’s a cold variety called a Musa Basjoo Banana Tree that can grow even further north than Kentucky. Maybe this is one of them. I’d love to know if it bears fruit.
“Every heart that has beat strongly and cheerfully has left a hopeful impulse behind it in the world, and bettered the tradition of mankind.” ~ Robert Louis Stevenson
Crystal and I talked about green beans at lunch today, which reminded me of what happened last week when mom and dad were here. When I got home from work mom announced, “Hey, you’ve got green beans in your back yard!” I didn’t grow a garden so I was perplexed. “Your dad found them.” I still didn’t understand. I didn’t grow a garden. So, dad walked me to the back of the yard, and sure enough, there were green beans as long as my hand hanging from the fence. It seems the neighbors set out their garden beside our shared fence, and their pole beans ignored the boundary. Looks like I get to perfect my green bean making skills this week. Thank you, neighbors!
“Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love, cannot be killed or swept aside”
~ Lin-Manuel Miranda
I’ve had an incredible day. There were so many wonderful things I did and people I saw that I’m saving them up for coming days. But for now, here’s the one thing that I’ve been waiting nine years to happen. For the first time since I bought my house I feel like I can walk out my back door without being stared at. More importantly, Wally can now run with abandon in his own yard. The incredibly handsome guys (said Mrs. Robinson) from Commonwealth Fence rode in like ants. In precisely 24 hours I had a fenced yard and the ants were gone to the next picnic. I might need a second job to pay for it, but every time that little dog chases a squirrel or rabbit or bee (yes, he snaps at bees), I will write a check with a grateful smile on my face.
“I believe that if you don’t derive a deep sense of purpose from what you do, if you don’t come radiantly alive several times a day, if you don’t feel deeply grateful at the tremendous good fortune that has been bestowed on you, then you are wasting your life. And life is too short to waste.” ~ Srikumar Rao
This post marks the end of the outhouse’s forth year. That’s 1,459 posts (2012 was leap year). This was supposed to be a one-year project to jumpstart my muse; get my feet back in the art water; sluff off the day-job blues and reignite my right brain. Tomorrow begins my fifth year. That’s almost hard to believe. At this point there’s no question of whether or not to continue. Some people drink. I take pictures. Some people do drugs. I process and post those pictures. Some people smoke, or gamble, or become addicted to sex. I find one thing to be grateful for each day, and I write it down for all the Netizens, as Jimmy Duckworth calls them, to read. This has become my addiction. It has enriched my life beyond measure. It has enriched others as well, and that I did not expect; that’s a blessing in its own right. Not every picture is beautiful. Not every word perfectly placed. But they don’t have to be. What they do have to be is active; marking the positive forward motion of my life. The outhouse is a place for me to center myself, drill down through a day’s detritus, and find that one good thing that happened, that one important word spoken, that one seemingly insignificant moment of the day that actually makes life worth living. Along the way I get to hone my photographic skills, and if I’m lucky, put a smile on somebody’s face. Life is moving, and I’m moving with it, but for a brief period of every day the fence is in focus. I don’t know how much better my life could possibly be than this. To all of you who have walked this journey with me, thank you. I hope you’ve enjoyed it, and I hope you’ll continue to walk with me. 2016 will be the best year yet.
“You can’t force someone to respect you, but you can refuse to be disrespected.”
Today was BFF Angie Bliss Fanning’s birthday. Yesterday’s birthday girl, HRB Crystal Heis, had to stand in for Ang since she’s in Oklahoma. To honor Angie, Crystal and I ran around, up to no good, during work. Then, I got to laugh with Ang on the phone so, it worked out okay. Stacy Yelton and I did our Frisch’s Friday routine, then finished the day with an adventure in search of churches. It was, after all, an absolutely perfect Kentucky spring day. Every Friday should be this good. Lucky for me, with these incredible people in my life, most of them are.
“A mind is like a parachute. It doesn’t work if it is not open.” ~ Frank Zappa
The snow was light and fluffy, tucked gingerly between the bars. It made the undulating spikes look different to me. They’d gone from stoic metal to flames, locks of hair, devil horns, or reeds in the wind, I couldn’t decide which. There’s beauty everywhere if you’re willing to see it.
“May your life preach more loudly than your lips.” ~ William Ellery Channing
My neighbor, Chainsaw Charlie: A few weeks ago I noticed a young man in his backyard whom I thought was his son. I noticed he was shooting arrows with a bow. Yesterday, he was throwing them at the ground, literally. It was odd, and I was oddly curious. This evening I heard a voice say, “I hope I didn’t freak you out shooting arrows. I’m really sorry if I did.” I turned to see a handsome young man peering over this not-so-privacy fence between us. He is not Chainsaw Charlie’s son, but his stepson, whom I didn’t know even existed until that moment. I’ll call him Arrow Andy. He used the word Zen when describing archery. He spoke in love about the outdoors. He fancies meeting new people and guessing their familial lineage. I found him completely fascinating, totally engaging, and downright cool. If it wasn’t for my dinner burning, I’d probably still be at the fence talking to a young man who dances through his step-father’s backyard like nobody’s watching. Now, that’s how to embrace your life and live it!
“Be weird. Be Random. Be who you are, because you never know who would love the person you hide.” ~ Unknown
On warm, sunny mornings it’s not unusual to find my neighbor – whom I nicknamed Chainsaw Charlie because of his incessant use of the tool – sitting peacefully at his picnic table. The fence that separates us certainly wasn’t built for privacy, as you can see. I often feel as if we share space and that bothered me when I first moved in. As I’ve gotten to know Chainsaw Charlie, I’ve come to find his outline a comfort. I’m glad to know that there are people in the world who have made the kind of life for themselves that affords the opportunity to meditate in glorious morning sun. How much better our world would be if we were all allowed that kind of freedom. I’m genuinely happy for him and I’m glad he’s around. (I could still do without the damn chainsaw, though)