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Essay: Small Projects

In a neglected corner of my back yard, there’s a patch of weeds and baby maples.  I ought to dig it up and plant perennials there, I think.  It’s small project; I could do it in a weekend—but I don’t.  Two of my neighbors have gorgeous perennials and I enjoy theirs.  I also enjoy the weeds in other people’s yards.


As I walk around my neighborhood, I see evidence of my own good intentions gone astray.  Down the block, there are three bags of topsoil next to a garage that have been there for several summers now, awaiting their turn.  Or the empty flower boxes at another house, the dead flowers sitting nearby in their plastic pots.

Across the alley, some neighbors have been building a garage for years—first removing the bushes at the back of the lot, then having a baby.  This summer a slab was finally poured and now the guys are relaxing on it in lawn chairs while the kids play on a blow-up slide.  

I find all these delays reassuring.  They confirm my belief that there are no small projects or even medium-size ones.  Everything takes longer than we think it will—and costs more.  I suspect that by now it’s probably too late to plant perennials.  Thank goodness!