Yesterday I took an electric leaf blower and blew out a layer of dead leaves, broken sticks, moldy mulch, and all the detritus of a too long winter out into the yards, then carted it away to the top of a hill and into the woods. It made way for us to plant flowers and vegetables, lay new mulch down, and already things look better. But the work to actually make it better still lies ahead for another sunny day.
Last night I found a hole in a water pressure tank, spraying a thin stream of water three feet to the side. I tried to patch it with epoxy and flex seal, turning off the tank and letting it drain to empty, depressurizing it, mixing the glue and trying to press it into the hole, then letting it cure overnight. In the morning, seal applied, I repressurized the tank and turned it on, watching the seal slowly swell, a bubble of pressure, close to bursting. I turned everything off, bought a new tank, and hired an expert.
In the back yard, the previous owners had built a fence for their dog. It was study, but ugly, slapdash, with poles too deep into the ground and staples applied to trees and the deck. Each pole had to be unfasted from the fence, with wires pulled or cut loose. Then I had to dig down to where the metal flares out, cutting away roots and moss, pushing back the dead leaves, then pulling and rocking and pulling until it came loose. Staples required a hammer and a flathead, patience, force, tolerance for a little chipping away at the wood, and when the bark had grown around the metal, simply cutting it away and hammering it flat with apologies to the tree. It seemed like too much work when we started, too many bad decisions made in the past for us to undue, but then it was noon, the work was done, I opened a beer.
And best of all, none of this is a metaphor. Or at least not solely.