A weekend of mild and dry weather let me finally begin to dispose of the carpet of leaves around my house. I raked them away from the outside walls into piles, to let the rain drain away quickly into the soil and keep the damp away from the house. Some I spread as mulch around shrubs, and others I carted to a large pile under the sweetgums and the high ancient ligustrum hedge at the back of my property. I decided to take the suggestion of my neighbor Greg and not bag leaves to send to the landfill.
There is nothing I like better than working in my yard: using simple tools, feeling my body move, refreshing myself with lemonade, turning my face to the sky. I pruned the dead branches from the frozen cardinal guard and lantana, and cut back the rose bushes. I pulled up the wilted, dried stalks of ginger plants that grow up in the azalea hedge. I put our statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary upright. She had begun to lean, one of her brick supports having sunk into the soil.
Here in North Florida we are on the periphery of the icy blizzards that have been blanketing the Northeast as far south as Atlanta. They get buckets of snow, we get rain. It looks like we are in for more rain this week. Robins have been feasting on the berries of my camphor trees.
R. prepared a wonderful supper of steaks, baked potatoes and brussels sprouts Sunday night, and we settled in for the conclusion of Downton Abbey on Masterpiece Theater. She kids me that I am like my mother, fretting over the marriage prospects of housemaids and debutantes. I suppose I am: my inner old woman, nibbling chocolate truffles with a cat on my lap, endlessly entertained by the ruination of the British Empire.
Monday morning got off to a rocky start. It looked at first like I would be minding the second floor alone in the morning. A couple of full-time people were sick. Then staff showed up we'd thought were off, and it wasn't so bad. Still, long hours at the service desk today. This is when having knocked around as a young man pays off. My worst day as a reference librarian is still going to be better than my best day at some other jobs I've had.