A Weekend of Gifts

Last weekend, was quite a weekend. I felt like I received one gift after another. They weren’t life challenges that many of us often refer to as “another gift from the universe.” While I believe even those gifts are “for my own good” and should be respected, that phrase is often said with an eye roll and a bit of sarcasm. The gifts I’m talking about in this post are the “feel good” kind of gifts.

The weekend series started when I looked at my Green Seattle Partnership Forest Steward’s handbook and discovered that all of our plants for the season were supposed to have been planted by March 1. I thought I had until sometime in April. That wasn’t the gift I am talking about either, although I am sure glad I found out about my error when I did.

The first “feel good” gifts came when I wrote my friends Sarva and Gopika and asked if they would help me plant the remainder of the plants… and they both said yes. Sarva was able to set a time for Saturday but Gopika couldn’t come until Sunday. It was my hope that Sarva and I would finish the planting on Saturday so Gopika and I could focus on the other work that needs to be completed before our upcoming March 17 work party.

On Saturday, Sarva and I planted 40 shrubs and 6 ground covers. We also placed burlap around most of the newly planted items. By the end, we were both exhausted, but we had finished the planting!

The next day, Gopika and I finished 1) writing the name of each plant on a popsicle stick and putting in the ground near the plant, 2) making sure a blue and white checkered tape and a flower that had been blessed during a ritual had been placed on or near every plant and 3) removing the pink flags that had marked the spot where the shrub or ground cover was to be planted. (The blue and white tape means that the item was planted during the 2017-2018 planting season.)

Our next step will be to cover all of the exposed burlap with wood chip mulch on March 17.

I received the second set of gifts when I kept an appointment with my auto mechanic. He was at the front counter talking with friends when I arrived. One of the friends had an interesting item in his hand. I asked if it was for a steering wheel and he said yes. A few minutes later he gave it to me, saying he would put it on the wheel. I wasn’t sure I wanted it, but it felt right to accept it, so I did. The friends had trouble stretching it onto the wheel but they finally got it on.

I had mixed feelings about the gift. It seemed gaudy and I don’t like drawing attention to myself. And as I drove with it on the wheel, I also became concerned that it added too much width to the steering wheel to be comfortable. During the days that followed, I discovered that the cover makes it easier to spot my car from a distance and it is so nice to not have to touch a cold wheel when I get into the car during freezing temperatures. I think I will get used to this new form of comfort.

After my mechanic replaced my brake light, he surprised me by saying there would be no charge.  And another auto problem I was having when I had made the appointment on Friday, resolved before I got there. From my perspective, both of those experiences were also gifts.

The third set of gifts started when my neighbor Jason notified me on Friday that a colleague of his had rescued a Douglas Fir tree from a rockery several years back; the tree was now eight-feet tall. She had asked him if he knew of a place where it could be planted. He asked if we could plant it in the Greenbelt restoration site.

We’ve planted so many trees this year that I wasn’t sure I would have a place for it. When I looked around though, I saw a spot in the middle of a grove of maple trees. Those trees are very old and we’ve been focusing on planting trees that will eventually replace them.

Jason said he would bring the tree to the site on Sunday. I considered asking another neighbor, John, to help plant it, but I didn’t do it. As I walked towards the Greenbelt to meet Jason, John walked out of his house. I asked if he would help with the planting and he said yes.

This weekend, I felt as if I had received gifts from Sarva, Gopika, Jason, Jason’s friend, John, my mechanic, the mechanics friends, as well as feel good gifts from “the universe”. My weekend had been both fulfilling and joyful.

(I’m laughing. Minutes after I finished writing this post, I received a notice that went out to the Forest Stewards saying that we can have extra plants if we want them! I’m taking that as another gift as well as an acknowledgement that it was not a problem that I didn’t have everything planted by March 1. Now I need to decide if I want to ask if more sword ferns are available. I believe we have enough of everything else for this planting season, but having more ferns might be nice.)

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