Idling away a spring day on a back yard hammock
I like dandelions in the spring, they speak of out with the cold and in with the bugs, except maybe this year. Who knows, the weather has been so crazy that my husband will probably have to replace the mower deck with the plow on the John Deere lawn ornaments, soon.
Years ago a former co-worker once said to me on a Monday morning, around this time of year, "So what did you do all weekend, garden?"
"I hate gardening," I said, "and why would you assume I like it?"
"You look like a gardener."
To him all women on the downslide of middle-age like to garden, bake cookies and share pictures of their grandchildren. As one who looked middle-age in the eye a few years back, I prefer swaying in a hammock, eating cookies and imagining the grandchildren I don't have ... yet - which brings to mind my hammock.
At the end of last weekend's weed-pulling I resurrected from under the back deck the metal piping framework of a hammock stand. Ravaged by rust it was a wasteful shame that it had been sitting in the dirt and forgotten for almost a decade. Scaly with rust, fitting the pieces together was like trying to shove a swollen hand into a tight glove.
Sanding and painting was the cure, but it was Sunday, we were outside enjoying the nice weather, and I wanted to lie on the hammock, not repair it.
The actual rope hammock was rolled up and stored on top of, and sort of behind, the oil tank in the basement. Every couple of years when I noticed it I'd mention to my husband that the cord had probably dry-rotted. So when the pipes didn't go together I didn't have much hope for the ropes.
As I sprayed the rusty pipe ends with the miracle fluid, Liquid Wrench in a can, I figured since that stuff can unstick frozen-bolts, why not act as a lubricant for my hammock pipes. My husband just shook his head and took the can away. That's when I noticed two trees, right off the back deck that were the perfect distance apart for a hammock. Aha!
Getting the hammock from behind the oil tank was an exercise in proclivity. I was hoping the effort would not be nullified by dry rot. Other than covered in sawdust and cobwebs the ropes looked strong and the metal rings, just as shiny as if they were new.
It took my husband 10 minutes between cornhole tosses to rig two bolts to hang my new perch in the back yard. Before he was even finished screwing in the heavy duty hanger-things, I grabbed my, very appropriate because it has the image of a moose woven into it, favorite blanket off the back of the couch and a pillow.
Breezy, peaceful and a gentle sway have a way of melting troubles. I didn't think of work or dandelions or that it was time to start dinner. The sounds of my family pitching horseshoes and tossing cornhole bean bags sounded like a symphony turned down and soothing. Every once in a while as the hammock slowed I'd reach out and tug on a branch of the laurel bush alongside; horizontally waltzing to my family's music again. It was a perfect weekend of hard work and reward.
The next day I posted on Facebook: Hammock: a bed on which to forget troubles and sway to the music of a contemplative mind. I got quite a few "likes." Enough said.
EMAIL CAROLYNN PIANTA AT CP.ENOUGHSAID@AOL.COM.