Through the narrow slit in my kitchen blinds, I see things emerging in the neighbor’s backyard that weren’t there before. For the past several weeks, there’s been shuffling, digging and outdoor lights on at night. I wake up to dark and come home to dark, so I can only see the faint outlines of his efforts.
Last night, I awoke to flashes outside my window. I was convinced it was lightening, but the weather forecast was clear. My conclusion was that the completed oasis was captured on film in the early hours of morning as one often documents a momentous occasion.
Today is Saturday. I don’t have to work, so I get up early and brew a cup of chai tea. I position myself so that I’m facing away from the window, but can see through the slit into the backyard through peripheral vision.
I take a peek. There’s a small pond with multicolored Christmas lights strung around bamboo poles. He has moved an old bathtub perpendicular to a bench that faces the pond. A fountain has emerged from its interior, sprouting to life! Stones lined with potted plants in various sizes leads the way to a chiminea next to the bench. Behind it all is a new carpet of fresh sod, the kind you could walk barefoot through.
It’s turning dark now and the clouds are no longer white, just a pleasant soft navy on the horizon. I see my neighbor roll up the hose. The grass glistens in the light of the lights from last season’s holidays. He goes inside.
Opening my backdoor a crack, I step barefoot into the grass and let the moisture seep through my toes, still sore from wearing heels all week. The chiminea still burns embers and I set down next to it on the edge of the tub.
I stop for the first time in weeks. The smell of burning ash hits me. I haven’t bought any seeds for my own garden until today, and even those are borrowed.