Scoop, lift, unload. Three shovels in rhythm as new stone makes pretty. Three pairs of strong arms take turns as another smooths and shifts rock with hands and feet. It's that season again: landscaping time. We work together side-by-side, as families should. Sometimes laughing, sometimes squabbling. But enjoying.
We live in the middle of farm fields. My parents are just down the road, on the corner. My mom said if they ever named the place, she would call it Windy Corner. A truly fitting name. And since we live on the hill of the same farm, our little section should be christened Windy Hill.
We built on this land four years ago. We took down the two old scrub pines in front of the house -- the only two trees on the property where animals were once pastured. It's a beautiful place, but it's wide open to the weather. We've planted several trees that are doing their job of growing each year, but they're still fairly small, so one can only expect so much. We feel every breeze and gale that blows.
Last year, we finally got to the job of landscaping the front. A new sidewalk was poured the year before, and I was ready to make pretty. A design was drawn, shrubs and flowers purchased, mulch chosen. We dug, planted, prepped and poured. We struggled against a strong breeze to lay plastic weed control and to scoop mulch, but when it was finished, we were pleased with the sight.
Enter the wind and a science lesson on how it changes the landscape over time. By the end of the year, our mulch was scattered to the far corners of the world, the plastic was shredded and the weeds were having a heyday. It wasn't pretty.
Take two. This summer, as we laid new plastic and scooped sturdy rock on Windy Hill, my husband several times said with a grin, "I wish we'd done this last year."
And I remembered my mom saying often to me, "We learn from our mistakes."
Yes, we do. We learn that sometimes we're not as smart as we thought we were. We learn that "where there's a will, there's a way" doesn't necessarily hold true. We learn that there are some things stronger than we are. We learn that practical is sometimes more important than pretty (and can actually be pretty too). We learn that doing it right the first time saves time.
And we learn that second chances can still be enjoyable, especially when you're surrounded by people you love.
What sort of second chances have you experienced lately?