I can assure you of one thing: I have no patience for delicate flowers. This Spring Break has been one for the books… let me tell you. It started with a cellphone alarm set for 5:15 am, a quick shower and cursory sweep of the dorm room, the unplugging of all electrical material at 5:29 am, and a locked dorm room at 5:30. Then, off down the ghostly Commonwealth Avenue with my backpack and roll-a-board in search of a desperate taxi, and $28 later, I’m sitting in line at the security checkpoint in the B terminal of Logan that I now know by heart and could navigate in my sleep. Finally through the scanner and a short walk later, I plop myself down at the gate and wait for the boarding process to begin with a call to Mama at my tired ears, and a crusty, day-old turkey wrap half-way down my esophagus. The beginning of my Spring Break. But wait! There’s more!
You see that cute, adorable, handsome and amazingly awesome puppy? That’s right. That’s the new Barnard puppy… Teak. He was born on December 10th, 2010, and came home with my parents at the beginning of February. Though I took the picture above, all the credit goes to my parents for raising a beautiful and well-mannered (for the most part) ball of terror. He may look cute, but his mouth is outfitted with the sharpest set of razors on the planet, and his full, bright eyes plunge so far into your heart it hurts. But seriously, he really is the best dog in the world.
I came home to a family-under-renovation. We’re all going through some introspective times, and I doubt if we’re the first family to have ever struggled a bit. This break, things definitely started out rough, but as for the commentary along the way, and for where we are now, I’m confident we’re going to be alright. And though we’ve had our moments, and probably still have our moments ahead of us, I’ll be the first one in this world to tell you that I have the best, the most loving and caring, and the smartest parents in the world. I love them more than anything, and through the thick or thin, I doubt that’ll change anytime soon.
A small part of me can’t wait to get back to Boston to tell all of my friends what I did over break. I just know I’m going to hear stories of ASB (Alternative Spring Break, a program that the CSC at BU puts on every Spring Break (the Community Service Center at Boston University… my life is filled with abbreviations at school)) and stories of beaches and international escapades. But I win. Yes, I win. (Inside joke here… sorry) I worked in my mom’s garden! And I have to say, though many 20 year olds might find a Spring Break filled with such activity quite boring and upsetting, there is nothing, absolutely nothing like getting muddy and dirty in the garden with the birds singing above, the sun shining on your back, the wind in your hair and a mouth full of gnats.
I spent many hours over the past couple of days working in the yard, putting out pre-emergence on our lawn, pulling weeds, planting violas (I dislike delicate flowers, I’m a hearty, less delicate flower kind of guy. I don’t want to have to worry about breaking the stems every time I exhale… but to each his/her own…) raking leaves (more on this later) and avoiding wasps, hornets and yellow jackets competing with each other to see who could fly closest to my head. But, at the end of the day, when I stop and look at what I’ve done in the yard, there is a wonderful satisfaction that comes with the hard work. I may not have enjoyed every part of it, but the result is awesome, and very gratifying… hmm… is anyone else picking up on an important life lesson here?
Currently, as I sit here writing, I can count roughly 78 gnat bites on my arms alone. That was two days’ worth, granted, but with bug repellent! The garden may look wonderful with the purple salvia and violas that I planted, but my arms look like a war zone. And not only do I carry the wounds of flying insects, but I also bear a brand new set of gashes in my epidermis from my lovely new little brother, as well as a perfectly round, and perhaps infected, blister!
Blisters are a nuisance, to say the least, and I definitely feel for you if you’ve experience blisters on your feet, but I have to say that rake blisters are among the worst. On Tuesday, I raked the backyard grass free of leaves with two intentions. I obviously wanted to clear all the oak leaves off the grass to make it a bit nicer. However, I had another ulterior motive: a product that consisted of an ample pile of leaves and a small, unaware puppy that had no idea he was about to be a flying object. Funny- I just happened to have both ingredients to my devious recipe!
As I began to rake the backyard, Teak had a consistent hour’s worth of fun barking at and trying to fight the rake. I don’t know what it is with puppies and rakes, but Teak treated the rake like it was some denizen of Satan’s own house. His head crouched down and he was ready to charge. And then the rake moved again! Teak barked and then scurried away from it, cowering under the nearby bench. I’m serious. Hours of fun.
Raking leaves is stereotypically an event for the fall in regions where the leaves turn vibrant colors and sweaters and jeans are in order. This is simply not so in the South. If there is one thing you can count on in Savannah, Georgia, it is the bi-annual falling of the oak leaves. It doesn’t matter if it’s your car or your bushes, everything gets covered with oak leaves in the spring and in the fall. It’s actually kind of beautiful; it’s as if the oak trees are reminding you that they’re still there, providing the shade for the impending heat blast in the summer, and reminding you that fall still exists though changing colors are absent. Nevertheless, blind to such beauty and contemplative thoughts, though Teak’s fondness for chewing oak leaves could be considered an obsession by now, Teak wanted nothing to do with my proud collection of leaves that left a good-sized blister on my left thumb. Next year…
Tomorrow, well, today is St. Patrick’s Day, and I must rise early to head to the office with Papa. I’ll be poised and ready with our Nikon camera to take (hopefully awesome) pictures of the craziness that we try to avoid every year. And then it’s off to Miss Brenda’s for lunch, and then who knows! Have a safe, and happy St. Patrick’s Day!