The color of Green

on March 14, 2014

She sat in the backyard amid the sounds of a repeatedly revving lawn mower nearby and a jet flying overhead.  “Is this the color of green?” she wondered.  Perhaps the lawnmower could be, but not quite.  And certainly not the overhead jet – that was the silvery blue of a minnow swimming in the pond’s edge.  The lawn mower reminded her of the ‘grass green’ paint on the old Craftsman mower she had used as a kid.  She had pushed that mower in square patterns on the lawn in an endless, hot tedium of chores that must be done before play.  Certainly not a restful shade of green.  The neighbor, eventually defeated, put away the noisy machine.  When that sound ceased, it was replaced by the steady sucking sound of a vacuum.  She had noticed another neighbor cleaning the trunk of his car when she walked through the backdoor.  Also, not the color of green.

She sat in the lawn chair found two summers ago when she and her husband were returning from a long bicycle ride.  It had been one of those glorious weekend days that made riding a bike a sweet sensual experience complete with pleasant scents, visions and sensations.  The air was perfumed with the bouquet of flowers as they rode through the neighborhood streets.  Each of them spied the lawn chairs as the same time.  However, he had to make a quick turn around to come back to the place where the chairs sat next to a large tree on the curb.  Two low-slung Adirondack style chairs in dark forest green, one holding a ‘FREE’ sign in the seat.  “Do you want those?” He asked. She nodded her head emphatically.  They had been looking for yard furniture and this was obviously a bargain.  Right at that moment, another younger couple stopped to view the chairs.  “These are taken, sorry” she informed them.  They readily agreed, while offering a postcard invitation.  The invitation was to a Sex Show on the following weekend.  “Why don’t you come?”. asked the younger woman, “It will be fun.”. Murmuring a quick thank you and a muffled “we’ll see”, she was pleasantly surprised by the invitation when the young people left on their bikes.

He said that he would hurry home to bring the truck back so that they could transport the chairs, while she settled into one.  After securing her bike next to the charm she pulled out her knitting to await the truck.  She had time only to complete a few rows when he returned with his work van. They loaded the chairs and she stated that she would continue home on her bicycle.  What a lucky find, she thought as they parted.

Once home, he inspected the chairs more  closely.  One rotted board while all of the joints had rusted hardware was found after a  thorough scrubbing of the chairs.  Over the next week, he made the necessary repairs and she began to paint.  Supplies were located in a garage, resulting in bright white chairs.  Obviously, not the color of green, but an improvement over the original color of deep forest green. 

As the days passed, the realization became evident that bright white did not suit.  So, she gathered supplies and ideas.  Painting began in earnest:  one board became navy blue, multi colored circles decorated the arms, wavy lines of lilac punctuated strips of lime green and rose, and flowers erupted in random places over the back and seat of the chairs.  Each chair was different, yet the same – much closer to the color of green…

Today, she sits curled on a pillow in her repaired, repainted, second chance chair feeling the color of green.  A neighbor’s tabby cat walks the roofline of her garage, as her tiger striped cat scampers under the picnic table.  Visions of the newly found white metal head and foot boards planted in the strawberry bed play in her creative consciousness, seeking inspiration. Baskets of colored flowers hang just above these new trellises, filled with primroses and daisies.  Next to her, the baby transplants of kale, broccoli, lettuce and spinach enjoy their new home in the cool, rich garden soil.  She imagines the small plants are extending their roots deep into the dirt to grab the earth’s nutrients as their leaves sniff the air for oxygen and moisture.  The wind chimes are quiet today as the air is still.  A nearby squirrel chatters to the cat, who ignores his attempts at conversation during her investigation of every nook and cranny in her cat kingdom. 

As she looks around the backyard, evidence of her husband’s handiwork is everywhere. The trellis built two summers ago supports the thick, ropey branches of the old fashioned rose bush and a jasmine.  The lean-to garage extension which keeps the rain and occasional snows off their bicycles, out of season yard furniture and his larger tools, even the kayaks are stored on the back wall.  The relatively new outdoor electrical safety plug, handy all year round.  A dwindling supply of wood is stacked neatly under the roofed structure providing shelter for insects to nest, especially the spiders.  The faux outhouse sits at the back of the yard, still unfinished but with big plans in store.  He had cleaned up all the borders of the previous garden beds and created two more in past summers. Two large water drums sit proudly in the center of one, moss growth evident around the spouts.  The newest raised bed is decorated with an bug house and colorful prayer flags.  The clotheslines bisecting the yard was one of her favorite features of the yard. That line was quite busy between laundry and the industrious spider activity of web making. 

There are various bits and pieces still needing attention or completion.  The yard and garden are always a meditation in process. Storage needs to be found for the extra washer and dryer covered by a tarp by the wood pile.  Scraps of building materials are stacked neatly along the back fence, a benefit/hazard of his construction work, depending on one’s perspective.  Absent are the mosquitoes, thanks to the spiders.  “If only they would go after the garden slugs….” she thought, “but then I really love their exquisite spider webs.”.

This is her color of green – springtime in the backyard.            



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