In a pouring rain, I pack up my car with recycling and trash. The empty cat food tins need to be out of my barn. My oldest stops by with her dog, and we stand in the open door of the barn. The barn’s inside is crammed with firewood in my fairly neat rows. Sometimes I imagine this space will be something else, but we moved here late enough in the childrearing years that the barn never became true kid headquarters.
The rain dumps. We stand drinking coffee and kicking around bits of this and that.
Truly, there are days when I wonder how the heck I’ve ended up at Alpine Heights in Hardwick, Vermont. I drive to the dump/recycling station. Years ago, when my oldest was in a carseat, the old man who ran the place took the time to talk with me. He told me to take my daughter swimming as much as I could, to enjoy summer, to savor her. He’s long dead now, passed on to the next world after a devastating accident. The dump/recycling world is run by savviness — plenty of things and money pass through here. The man asks what I’ve got and asks how I feel about eight dollars? I feel just fine about handing over eight singles.
My neighbors across the street had their water and sewer lines dug up and replaced this week. The contractor’s wife is someone I’ve known for years, off and on. Sometimes I meet her as she walks her tiny dog through town. When the contractor finished with the work, he gave the neighbors’ little boys a ride in his excavator. Such a simple thing, I think, and so much kid happiness.