A week before my sixtieth birthday, my daughter said the family would like to celebrate my birthday late, after my trip, because of “technical difficulties.” “Oh, sure,” I agreed, but I was thinking to myself that “technical difficulties” meant whatever gift they ordered online wasn’t going to arrive in time.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
As my sixtieth birthday (which was this past April) approached, I decided it was time to start doing the things I had planned to do “one of these days.” And one of the things I had never done was visit my brother John and his family, who live in Hawaii. Hawaii in April–I liked the sound of that–and so did my sister Marianne, who had also never been there.
I could not have been more wrong.
The afternoon after I returned home, I found this cryptic message on my desk:
Shortly afterward, I heard a beep-beep, beep-beep while at the same time a message popped up on my computer screen asking Where is that noise coming from? I tracked the beeping to a digital stopwatch underneath my desk, with the second clue attached. Kudos to my son Arlan for such a clever treasure hunt!
I was never more surprised in my life.
Having fun with my new toy
I later learned our family friends Nicole and Derrick had proposed building a garden shelter based on an image in one of my Pinterest boards. Derrick and several of my children had built the garden shelter while I was away. The garden shelter was built in an area of our property (which I have dubbed the Wild Apple Woods) where I had spent the past winter making trails. But the trails never seemed to have a purpose or a destination–now they did!
It was the perfect place to listen to the peepers this spring. That was probably the last time I sat in it for any length of time. I do sit on that bench–while I’m contemplating which branches in my gaze need to be removed in order to improve the view. I’ve also been busy transplanting spring ephemerals from Fern Alley to spots that can be viewed while walking to the shelter or sitting on its bench. Soon I’ll be planting ‘Pagoda’ trout lilies along that mossy path. And I want to find a vine to climb up the back. Any suggestions?