Stumbling blocks

Perhaps he knew, as I did not, that the world was made round so we would not be able to see too far down the path.

— Karin Dinesen (writing as Isak Dinesen) from Shadows on the Grass

This week has been so full. A huge mishmash of possibilities and hopes and unexpected challenges. Monday was a new garden bed, springing from the ground of my patio and crawling nearly to the height of the fence. Multiple layers cascading like falling leaves. Promise upon promise stacked upon itself like a layer cake. The garden bed was quickly followed by sketches of a new backyard, and vertical skematic for planting the tiny heirloom seeds ordered online based upon pictures of glowing black orbs of eggplants, giant yellow heirloom tomatoes, and herb beds adorned with butterflies. Tuesday evening, a praying mantis perched on the backdoor screen.

Then several days consumed by good people who were consistently one or two or three hours late, who wanted to stop and hang out while my cell phone buzzed over and over with yet another thing I was supposed to do, another place I was supposed to be.

Wednesday, talking over bagels and fresh raspberries about what I really want to be doing for a living, and begining to realize that it may actually be possible.

Thursday, I was determined to finish installing hardwood floors in the last two rooms of our house; one last major project completed before I return to work next week, and my world dissolves into a thousand different people pulling me twelve different directions each. I enjoy so many aspects of my job, but it pulls so hard on my time, my energy, and my patience, that I normally just try to keep my head above water until June. I figured the task would take me perhaps two days, then we would finish the summer with backpacks and huckleberry-stained kisses. When I began removing carpet, I discovered that both of our bedrooms, including the one which was supposed to be our nursery someday (always someday) are covered in asbestos tile. It is chipped and peeling. It is horrifying. Today, the second day of preparing floors and sealing the tile, I finally fell apart. Perhaps I am just tired. I began to doubt our ability to finish our house remodel (we’ve been working on it gradually for nine months now). I began to doubt our safety in that tiny room which I presumed was filled with odorless, colorless dust particles with only thin paper masks preventing them from lodging in our lungs and causing cancer. I began to think I had put us both in danger. I began to cry. Perhaps it was time to stop for a while. I came downstairs to our living room, and here I am, telling myself I am being ridiculous while I listen to him singing Barenaked Ladies songs out of tune and sealing the floor upstairs with plastic sheeting and duct tape. This is why I love him. It’s probably time to go wash my face and climb back up the stairs. These are only stumbling blocks; small things designed to get in our way, to slow us down and make us realize what is important, not to stop us in our tracks.

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