A restless sleep, clocking the hours through the night, and coming down with a head cold that’s making me logy and tired. Have been fretting unnecessarily about a family get-together today to celebrate my younger son’s birthday, and now realize it’s because I haven’t felt well for several days and it all seemed like way too much work. So I will cancel and spend the day lying about, reading and drinking restorative teas.
Day before yesterday I was looking out an upstairs window and saw Vinnie, the neighbor’s sleek black cat, erupt from the bushes and bound toward our orange cat, who froze with hackles raised while Vinnie munched on weeds in an abandoned flower pot. A lovely tableau, the two vivid cats against the green of the garden. Then the orange cat moved, and Vinnie fled to a dark corner of the yard under the ironwood tree. As I peered down into the shadow, I realized Vinnie was standing on a slab of rock I’d never seen before. Our yard is not big, and access from outside is not easy, so I was sufficiently mystified to go downstairs and out the back door for a closer look…
….And there, like a tumbled ruin from an ancient battlement, were the remains of a brick and concrete retaining wall that for the 25 years we’ve lived here has kept our uphill neighbor’s yard from sliding into ours. Apparently, it had collapsed all at once. The fragments were scattered on the ground below, delicate white flowers of Japanese anemones poking up among them and nasturtium vines already curling over. Fortunately, not a lot of earth had gone with it, so my neighbor’s yard is not yet undercut, but it will have to be repaired, and soon. Visions of dollar signs rose in my head. Many, many dollar signs.
I feel dismayed and overwhelmed. There’s a slight chance our insurance will cover, but only slight. If not, my husband and I have some difficult decisions ahead of us. But we’ve been talking for a long time about selling the house and moving across the bay to someplace greener and less hilly; maybe this will force our hand. I quail at the thought of dealing with 25 years of stuff, but it’s high time we did it.
Funny how the days roll on, one pretty much like another, and then something happens and the scene shifts, like those old viewmasters that used cards with scenes from Yosemite or Niagara Falls that would change every time you pulled the lever. Certain events in life are like that: births, illnesses, love, death–overnight, things are wildly different. Our retaining wall is pretty small potatoes in that context, but sudden large expenses shift the scene too. It’s going to take some time to adjust.
Meanwhile, a mocking bird is trilling away close by, and though clouds are building in the east, the recent ruins in my yard are flooded in sunshine. The weather people tell me a cold front is moving south from Alaska and temperatures are expected to drop twenty degrees and bring some rain, so while I’m admiring the sun on the plum blossoms up the hill, I’ll be contemplating soups and stews for the rest of the week. The kaleidoscope of life, and I’m living it sober.