Friday, May 11, 2007

An Ordinary Day in May

Today, Friday, the 11th of May, was an unremarkable day, and that fact should be celebrated. Tomorrow promises to be a different matter, so today is a day for the wonderful norm that May in the San Lorenzo Valley affords.

It was a Friday, and one on which I had no classes or committee meetings, so I could spend the entire day catching up on mundane chores here at Ft. Harrington. Primary among those chores was finishing the washing of the deck in preparation for sealer treatment. The six feet of rain we get here per winter quickly coats exterior surfaces with what might charitably be called "crud" and requires power tools to blast off. This year I upgraded to a gasoline-powered pressure washer, which one of our brighter chickens, Lacy, is inspecting below:

Last weekend I had blasted off the larger portions of the deck, leaving only the narrow portion above to be washed. Both the degree of the annual crud buildup and the power of the pressure washer can be appreciated via the above picture (the deck is redwood, as is probably about 90% of the bio-mass in this valley.)
This narrow portion of Ft. Harrington's deck faces the creek ravine. Most of the year, it is a peacefully-gurgling haven for ducks and minnows. During the winter, though, it can turn into a frightening hydro-blaster.

The animals didn't like the noise of the power washer (nor did I), and were relieved when it was over. Above, Jax enjoys his reclaimed cushion on a deck chaise.

Barbeque time on the clean deck.

Hugging the deck are old plum trees; nestled in the plum trees are tiny decorations that Diane has hidden in them in sort of a perpetual Christmas-tree ornamentation. Above, a "birdhouse" the size of a quarter is surrounded by baby plums.

May is the time that our roses bust out in exuberance. This huge blossom (about half a foot across) was the first blast in our rose garden, the mauve platoon behind it came about a day later. Looking at this king-sized blossom from the other side shows...

... the Fort's main house kitchen window, so, you can see, our view of the roses accompanies our stirrings in the morning.

White roses cover not just Ft. Harrington, but all of the San Lorenzo Valley in May, in a floral echo of the Northeastern snow that many of its citizens grew up with and remember well -- including me and at least five of my nearest neighbors here in "Creepy Hollow".

Lacy (left, background), Pippin (right), and Goldie and Buffy (or vice versa) settle in for a peaceful night.

Glow from the living room's lights illuminates newly-clean deck railings and planter boxes. Glow from our neighbors' windows across the creek warms the evening. Tomorrow will be anything but mundane, but today was a respite from both the pressures of workaday (much as I love my job) and anxious anticipation of tomorrow's event: a huge celebration of my son, Doug's, life. More than a hundred people will descend on a park in Oakland, California, to witness the dedication of a memorial to him, and to party as he would have wanted them to.

Doug at Boulder Creek (the creek itself) a year before his death.


ronnie said...

Sherwood, a beautiful post. I hope the memorial dedication is exactly what you hope and what the family needs. What a testiment to Doug's life that such a thing is happening!

Please know that I'll be thinking of you and I (and I have no doubt quite a few others who read this post) will be there, too, in spirit.


Mike said...

Please consider me present at the celebration.

And let me consider myself present occasionally in your little corner of domestic tranquility. Your calling it a Fort reminds me of Jaggers' clerk in Great Expectations whose face becomes less rigid the farther he gets from the office and the closer he gets to his little castle with the moat and flag. Dickens isn't terribly subtle, of course, but it is a still a fun image. If I didn't know how much you enjoy the office, I might suspect you of having an Aged P. there to help fire the cannon.

Nostalgic for the Pleistocene said...

Two wonderful days, in very different ways - and we presume there will be pictures to come!

Ronnie said...

What a blessing for so many of you to be together for Doug's Day.

Just don't let anybody talk about "closure." You probably know I've travelled this route and it is long and hard and it doesn't close. It only gets easier after a while.

Wish we were close enough to sit and just talk. The memorializing you are doing, and have done, is so very wise. You're going to be fine. Trust me.

Ronnie said...

That was not another new signature. Those are the misshapen letters I was supposed to type to prove whatever. How they got on my name I do not know. I may give up on this.

Sherwood Harrington said...

Thank you all, and you all were there in some form, too.

Mike, I hadn't thought of the Dickens parallel, but it is pretty strong (like that old newspaper-serial writer, I'm not very subtle either.) Now I just need a cannon. Maybe my acquaintance, Brendan, will lend me his.

Ronnie, those "misshapen letters" irritate the bejeebers out of me, too. I seem to get them wrong at least half the time -- at least Blogger says I do, but I don't think so. It would be a shame if you stopped commenting, though. Your words in your one on this post touched me deeply.