Signs of Spring in an Otherwise Dreary Backyard

Last fall, Steve tilled up all of the grass in our backyard. Our lawn was originally put in without adequate topsoil, so the grass never grew well. It died every summer, regardless of how high our water bill was. Since I was opposed to the project, Steve was sneaky and did the tilling on September 8, the day after I had surgery. Rachel was kind enough to take a bunch a pictures with my camera and bring them to me in bed, so I could see what was going on.

Back then, it didn't seem too terribly bad. We had a garden. And other beautiful plant growth. But this spring, as the snow melted and exposed our dirt yard, it was a harsh reminder of Steve's unfinished project.

I really wasn't in favor of the tilling, so it's been the source of some contention. When Paul was staying in Adam's room and Derrick was in the family room, I felt like there was nowhere for the kids to play. Adam had some friends over one day, and I asked Steve what I was supposed to do with them. "Just go hide some toys in the dirt and let them dig around for them." There have been days that I've felt like a security guard, trying to keep that dirt out of my house.

My sister called last Saturday to say she was in town for a photo shoot and wanted to come take some pictures of Rachel and Lucy. I tried to talk her out of it, but the lighting in the backyard was best. We put a sheet down in the middle of the dirt and Rebecca worked her magic behind the camera. Then Sam and Kacie came over with their kids and my eyesore of a backyard became the backdrop for the photos of their cute girls too.

I was feeling really bothered about those pictures. I was pretty sure that the ugliness of our backyard ruined every single one of them. (Even with grass, our backyard was the source of embarrassment.)

Yesterday, I came across this quote:

"Don't be gloomy. Do not dwell on unkind things. Stop seeking out the storms and enjoy more fully the sunlight. Even if you are not happy, put a smile on your face. 'Accentuate the positive.' Look a little deeper for the good. Go forward in life with a twinkle in your eye and a smile on your face, with great and strong purpose in your heart. Love life." -Gordon B. Hinckley

Now, in the grand scheme of things, my backyard is certainly not very significant. I shouldn't have been letting it bother me. And it's true, sometimes I dwell on things that just don't matter. I decided that I was going to wake up this morning and find some beauty in my backyard. And that I was going to spend the afternoon cleaning it up.

I found blossoms on the strawberry plants:

New growth on the raspberry canes that we got from my parents' yard a few weeks ago:

Beautiful blossoms on our beloved peach tree: 

A single grape hyacinth, planted years ago when part of our backyard was the front yard to a different house: 

Lots of red-leaf lettuce (volunteers): 

Our hearty kale: 

And probably my very favorite sign of spring, the buds and leaves on the grapevines: 

For six months out of the year, those grapevines look completely dead. By mid-April, I start wondering if they are. And then those buds appear and the vines magically come back to life. That's enough to put a smile on my face. . . and help me look past my yard full of dirt. 

P.S. Instead of cleaning up the yard this afternoon, we went and played at the park. So there you go. 

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