Yesterday, I finally finished putting up my new fence. It was a lot of hard work but I did it. 15 days before I didn’t know what to do. 15 days later, I’m wiser and way sorer than I was.
The reason I had to get it done so quick is purely and totally Frank: Lucy figured out how to get over the temporary fence. Lezley luckily grabbed her just in time… before she looked to her left and saw a gaping hole of freedom before her. Once Lucy learns something, she can’t unlearn it. In fact, she builds upon what she learns like a musician learning scales. This means that her next escape would be a Great Escape... like Steve McQueen cycle jumping that wall.
As most of you know by now, the July 8th storm in my area took out a very old fence and an even older tree. Both of which belonged to me. Thankfully no one was injured in the incident, save for my fence and tree… and some of my neighbor’s lawn.
I’ve never had to deal with anything like this in my life. I found myself going through the spectrum of emotions: from anger to sorrow. It made me realize what I was made of, along with the parts that I was missing. My situation was nothing compared to the millions of people whose lives are completely destroyed every year by natural disasters. I had a tree go down on my fence. My house was untouched. Everyone in my life was unharmed… it was bad, but it wasn’t the end.
Even though it felt like it a few times.
My reaction to the unpreventable situation alarmed me. I suppose you can never be completely prepared for that which you can’t predict. The Apollo astronauts (all astronauts really) constantly trained for what could go wrong… so that when something happened that threatens the mission or their lives, they wouldn’t think, they’d do. I didn’t think. I let my emotions take over…and barely was able to reign them in.
It’s taken me these two weeks to realize why I reacted the way I did. Simply put, I’ve been lucky. Lucky to have not gone through anything like this before. Lucky that my life has never been turned upside down by forces beyond my control. Lucky that I have (insurance) the means to take care of situations like this. Lucky that I am healthy and that I can fix what was broken.
I’ve learned a lot about myself. Good things and really bad things. Things I’m proud of and things I’d rather have buried with the tree stump.
The outpouring of offers of help are humbling to me. Neighbors routinely approach me asking if I want a hand. Each and every time I graciously and politely decline. Not that I couldn’t use it. Cleaning this mess up and putting a fence back up is hard work. Subconsciously I think I’m forcing myself to do it alone… to sweat all those bad things I discovered inside me out. To feel the pain of back-breaking work. To appreciate what I have that much more.
I’ve dug posts for my new fence. I’ve poured concrete for my new fence. I’ve cut wood, removed roots, measured, leveled and sweated for my new fence. I’ve made new friends because of my new fence. I’ve pushed myself to do things I never thought I could ( or would ever ) do because of my new fence. I’m a little bit better of a human because of my new fence.
I did not plant the tree that fell. I did not build the fence that was destroyed. The new tree will be one that I’ve planted. The new fence is one that I’ve built.
Ants may not even care what we look like. They have a job to do. They have problems to solve and colonies to build. It’s all about perspective.
Slowly but almost surely the staff at Bob the Squirrel are getting back into the swing of things. The last ten days have run the whole spectrum of emotions and dispositions: sadness, depression, defiance, determination, etc. Losing our 60+ year old tree to the July 8th storm was hard. Thankfully, no one was hurt and everything can be fixed… fixed to the point of being better than it was.
We were feeling down at the time. Anyone would. We’re faced with a situation we’ve never faced before and we automatically assume it’ll never be resolved. I think we’re allowed to have a bummed out moment. But just a moment. Feeling perpetually down doesn’t get things put back up. As Astronaut Wally Schirra once said (in talking about the loss of the Apollo 1 crew): “You’re sad, you mourn the loss. But you don’t wear the balck armband forever.” I’m not suggesting that losing a fence and tree is comparable to the loss of human lives, but the sentiment about resolve, about respect, and moving on to solve a problem is the same.
A lot of good has come out of a not-so-good situation. When that tree tore down our fence, it opened us up more to the neighborhood. We’ve been talking more with neighbors and have found friends we never knew we had.
I’m sure that when Frank puts that fence back up, we won’t be as shut off as we once were. That’s a good thing.