Turn Around

When we first moved into out house eighteen years ago, it faced the road, a little dirt lane that dead-ends about 200 feet past our driveway. That is, there was an open porch on that side with some rickety steps. After living here a few years, we enclosed the porch to make a kind of mudroom and moved the steps to the side of the house and we built a deck on the other side of the house, which faces the river. Without making any structural changes, we had effectively turned the house to face the river. It helps that most of the windows are on the river side of the house. But the various garden beds & plantings continued to suggest "frontness" on what was now the wrong side of the house, as if a woman wearing a full skirt had spun around quickly, her skirts taking a moment to catch up with her. That's what I've been doing this spring: filling in the very raw river side of the yard. By the road, there are a couple of overgrown hosta beds, so I'm digging those out to move under the big maples on the other side of the house. Where we built a stone retaining wall that gets a lot of sun, I am transplanting cedum and geraniums. Anyway, this is the earliest in the year I can remember having got out to do serious work in the yard -- should be some nice changes by fall if I keep up my discipline. Just a couple of square yards a day is my mantra.

Author: jd

Joseph Duemer is Professor of Literature Emeritus at Clarkson University in northern New York state. His most recent book of poems is Magical Thinking from Ohio State University Press. Since the mid-1990s he has spent a good deal of time in Vietnam, mostly Hanoi. He lives with his wife Carole & five terriers (four Jack Russells & one Patterdale) on the stony bank of the Raquette River in South Colton.

2 thoughts on “Turn Around”

  1. I don’t know about your corner of the Adirondacks (are you within the Blue Line? if not, close enough) but my corner (Keene Valley) was blissfully devoid of black flies when I was tending to my yard Saturday. Five years after planting, I experienced my first lilac bloom on Friday!

  2. Sam, it’s odd you should mention the black flies. My wife & I were just sitting out on the deck this evening & agreed that there are many fewer flies & mosquitoes this year. We are about a mile outside the Blue Line in the town of Colton, which treats the streams every year with BTI, but this year added a one-off aerial spraying because of last year’s tent caterpillar infestation. Worst black fkies I’ve ever experiences were in Blue Mountain Lake in May about ten years ago. Couldn’t go outside.

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