The Inner Landscape

The Yard Guy

Yard Guy stopped by the other day. I can’t remember anymore how I first met him. I think he came to cut the grass for me after I got divorced, when I realized I didn’t have any lawnmower other than a push type and couldn’t manage the yard in the house I was renting (too many bumps). He did the big yard cleanup so desperately necessary when I moved to this house in 1998 and went on cutting my grass and doing the fall leaf gathering for several years, and even stacked a cord of wood for me that I could not manage (and that we are still burning many years later), until Pure Luck came into the picture and asked why in the world I didn’t have a lawn mower?

"I do," I said. "His name is Yard Guy."

Needless to say our next errand involved buying a lawn mower.

I still see Yard Guy occasionally. He does yard work for one of my elderly neighbors. Since Pure Luck is often away at the height of yard clean-up (spring and fall), I hire him to do the work if the timing is right.

Conversation with Yard Guy always includes an update on his romantic life, which has the same themes each time: girlfriend with children of her own, great fondness for said children, can’t make up his mind to get married for one reason or another,  relationship ends.  I’ve  heard it play out at least three different times.  This week I heard about the latest, a story involving multiple fathers of children, a particular love for the youngest child, an effort to comprehend the multitudinous life issues of the girlfriend, some unwillingness to admit his own, but a better grip on things than he had ten years ago when we first met.

These conversations are really more like monologues, and they go on for a very long time. When I first knew him, I had time to listen. When he came by the other day, I had work to do, but it was hard to cut him off without appearing rude. So, I listened.

After describing his girlfriend’s traumatic childhood, he said, "I kept telling her, you have to stop living in the past!!"

Given her circumstances, it was probably not the best thing to be saying.

But for mine? Perfect.

I felt like I should write him a check. But that will wait for the yardwork. Meanwhile, I’m examining ways in which I can set myself free from old patterns of relationship and self-evaluation. There are some people from your past, and in your present, too, who you will never figure out and who can never make amends to you. Your only choice in those cases is to decide how to relate to them (or whether to, depending on the circumstances) and to make a commitment to silence the inner voices that want you to keep giving in or playing nice or compensating or enabling or whatever your particular self-protective tendency might be.

The broken branch on my apple tree will not get better, and the broken trunk of the round arborvitae will not revive. Sometimes you have to prune; sometimes you have to dig out and replant.

14 thoughts on “The Yard Guy”

  1. Indeed Songbird, indeed. We all need to decide what we can prune and what just needs to be dug up and replaced. Great reminder!

  2. I recently read an interesting thing which I cannot verify, but I am inclined to think is true. A little background is in order first. You may not notice it but each day and in every hour your bodies cells are being replaced. This happens faster in some bodily systems and slower in others, but each of them are breaking down and having new cells take their place. The thing that I read said that if you look at an old picture, none of the material of what you were then is left. You are essentially a new person. And perhaps in honor of that you might want to let some of the old baggage go as well.

  3. I call these types of conversations “angel visits”. I’m not big on angels (Biblically, a visitation is terrifying) but people just jump into my life and say what I need to hear even when they don’t have a clue.
    Maybe, as a preacher, I do the same for my listeners as I go on and on.

  4. I live with a gardener and have finally learned that all that old dead stuff makes great compost! Here’s to new vineyards, amply composted.

  5. Wow. Just wow.
    And also, were you listening in on my therapy appointment yesterday!?
    I have some gardening to do today & will be reflecting on your words. PL’s, too.

  6. Nicely put. And a good comment from PL as well.
    But if my cells are constantly remaking a new me, why can’t they make me over into Scarlett Johanssen?

  7. such wisdom- God chooses some strange ways to communicate truth to us at times! Thank you for this- I needed to hear it too! 🙂

  8. Here I was going to say something original, but instead it’s just identical to the other comments so far: this is just what I needed to hear, just when I needed to hear it. Thank you, Lord, for Songbird the Gardener.

  9. Although I am a gardener, this was a hard lesson to learn about people. Ten years ago I dug up and replanted my life, and although it was hard, it was long overdue, and was the best thing I ever did. Thanks for the reminder!

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