He sees framed photographic images where I see a decayed country home. Or, an empty field. Or, even cemetery statues.
But I have enough of an imagination to see the finished version of my projects in my head long before I pick up a shovel or plant a seed. I get so excited when I come up with a new idea. I’ll describe to Kevin what I have in mind, pace it out, draw rudimentary sketches... . And, invariably he’ll look at me blankly and say: “I trust you.”
The man who sees beauty in decrepitude has a hard time seeing a grape fence or a raised bed or an herb garden where there’s just lawn.
Three years ago, I envisioned a stone path from the driveway to the main, brick sidewalk that runs from the street to our front door. Without a connecting artery, visitors and guests who park in the driveway have had to cross the grass to reach the porch — or, in winter, a slippery expanse of shoveled snow.
Instead, I see a path lined with low stone walls draped by cranberries and framed by blueberries and what will someday be a weeping cherry. More than a decade old, the tree still has its branches raised high to embrace the sun.
In spring, I see pink and white blossoms from nearby shrubs and trees flirting with pea gravel lining the bed.
In summer, I see stones glistening as they catch the sun’s rays peeking from behind passing rain clouds.
In fall, I see flaming autumn leaves dancing along the avenue, collecting among the field stones at the edges.
In winter, I see snow clinging to cold rock, defining the way even as drifts blanket the ground.
But in reality, for far too long, the area has been a slash of mud or baked earth (depending on the season) surrounded by weeds, a jangle of rocks tossed from my brother’s truck and a pile of gravel.
Earlier this fall, I took up my shovel again and vowed to bring my vision to life. I spent several days of a recent vacation digging below the frost line and heaving earth until my abs and hips burned.
Next, I started building walls of field stone from my parents’ farm in Rose, carefully puzzling the chunky pieces into place.
After several evenings of “playing with rocks” and with rain threatening, I was more than halfway along and eager for a sneak peek. The sides were complete where the path meets the driveway, so I dumped gravel and leveling sand into the center and smoothed a layer of pea gravel on top.
I stepped back to survey the results before calling Kevin over.
I may have hours of work still ahead of me, but it’s so close to finished, even he can see it.
He trusts me.