Thursday, May 24, 2012

Meditations on work

Hardly anyone sweeps their own driveway anymore. I do, but it's probably because we're cheap. At this time of year there's more work because we planted a Jacaranda 15 years ago. Every time I sweep I'm reminded of my neighbor across the street, Elizabeth, who warned me not to plant this tree - "they're too messy, too much work, get rid of it now."

When we first moved to this block, Elizabeth was in her 90's and smoked like a chimney. Every day she took 2 long walks with Missy, a dog she'd found abandoned in an alley. You could tell she'd had a hard life. She'd raised 3 children on her own in post-war Germany, pulling a pram up five floors each day. I didn't ask about her politics.

Over the years she'd slowly covered every inch of the property with concrete. The front "yard" reminded me of a miniature golf course...I was dying to play through. In the backyard, she had about 50 pinwheels and green concrete. On one side of her was Alan, a very uptight jeweler who complained about the pinwheel noise. There've been sightings of him sneaking in to oil the pinwheels. On the other side was Hap, an old guy who peed off his front porch on a regular basis.

Anyway, she was right, that Jacaranda is messy as hell, but I still love watching the purple cloud-like flowers rain down on my newly swept sidewalk.

I think there's a line in the sand somewhere - where we decide if we're going to keep sweeping, or are we going to just cover everything in concrete.

1 comment:

  1. Ann-
    What a lovely spot already. I am fed by how you can take an image of sweepings on your concrete drive, or a story about a woman so different from you, or a book that comes with wear, and spin gold from straw.