While waiting…

This boy is turning 17 exactly 10 years later.

“Murder postponed” was the first title I came up with for this post, but that is unnecessarily sensationalist for my usual taste. However, it probably does reveal the current tone of my meditations.

I’ve been thinking about why this swimming pool demolition project is proving to be more emotionally unnerving than I expected. I did fully expect that it would start today, which is why bright and early I was waiting and ready. Bright and early dear Mr. Bread was on hand as well, but we soon discovered that my lack of familiarity with the communication style of contractors had caused me to misunderstand a particularly misleading worker. The work will not proceed quite yet, so I have time to think about it all here on my blog..

I was until recently married, for most of my adult life, and I am trying to adjust to the ending of that earthly relationship. For more than half of my married life I was also a pool owner, so I had a sort of relationship with my pool, and that is ending, too, not by death or divorce, but by me murdering my pool.

baptism May 97 crp 2

I hope it is not dishonoring to my late husband to think about our marriage as being in any way similar to that concrete container; I am just contemplating the emotional strain of things changing. If my husband were here helping me change the backyard landscape, I would no doubt be comforting him, and probably not acknowledging my own angst, but now I have to comfort myself about one more change.

Kate wrote that she is trying not to be too emotional about what is a very logical decision. 25 years ago when we were house-shopping, we reluctantly settled on a house with a pool, having originally excluded that option from our plan. We had only expected to live here a couple of years anyway! Of course, our whole family became invested in that pool and enjoyed it, and many of our friends have written to tell of their important memories of swimming and baptisms.

But for me to go on here in this house and on this property, it is very helpful to be able to create an alternative physical space to go along with my new life. This pool has outlived its usefulness as a place for people to have fun, and now presents as only a big bathtub that needs to be kept clean. Not being a great one for that kind of chore, I’m thankful I have the resources to change it out for a living and breathing ecosystem that will be friendly to bees, butterflies, birds, children and tea parties.

FB pool P1020191(1) 6-07
This boy loved monitoring the pool sweep.

Once I didn’t have to stay around for the work that wasn’t happening this morning, I realized I could go to church after all and celebrate my priest’s name day with a warm and joyful church family brunch after Liturgy. It was encouraging to talk to people about my ongoing grief and projects; I am so thankful for this community that upholds me in so many ways.

I have some more time to finish my preparations for my first meeting with a landscape designer who specializes — and what California landscaper doesn’t? — in what we call waterwise gardening and irrigation. Yesterday I dug out the few plants I want to keep that were on the edge of the pool, so close that they might end up in the hole, and I put them in safe and moist places until we figure out where they will work into the new landscape.

I got so hot and tired in the middle of that task, and mused as I worked over the timing of my project: should I have waited another year, or at least a few more months, to begin? I concluded that it was right and good for me, being a gardener and naturally takingFB blue flowers 5-05 delight in planning a garden, researching about plants, and imagining a beautiful natural space. If I didn’t have this creative work to do, just what would I be doing right now?

I’d probably be feeling guilty about not doing all the sorting and cleaning that needs attention inside the house, much of it the kind of work that requires decision-making or skills that I’m not so good at, and that feel too formidable right now. Also I’d feel bad about putting water in the pool all summer long! Once I get through the next weeks and begin to see the unfolding of the vision, I will be less anxious. And for now, we can all take a little longer to say good-bye to the pool that we didn’t want, but were thankful for, and now don’t want again. Good-bye, Pool!


8 thoughts on “While waiting…

  1. I was baptized in that pool in 1999. I also have “feelings” for the memory of the pool, but unless it is used daily, loved, cleaned, tested, skimmed, shocked and scoured continuously it’s just another piece of work!


  2. Your gardens always look beautiful, and this is such an important project for Californians right now. Your new garden will be lovely, and you will feel so good to have accomplished this big, creative project. Only you know what your heart needs right now. And what is letting go of a pool compared to what you have already had to let go? Enjoy that process – how wonderful to be able to choose a whole new gardenful of plants:)


  3. I just came in from outside, I had been swimming. As I swam today, doing laps, I was thinking about you and your pool. I was sad as I knew you had written about your pool being gone today. I know about putting water into it every day, because I have felt that way this summer in a year of drought. I was thinking of the sadness you must feel. I know though, this will be better in the long run. You are a gardener. You will love having new soil to play in. I understand your comparisons though. I am so glad you had your church to go to today.


  4. I totally understand these sentiments. After 40 years, after mother died, my elderly father had to make the very same decision, as the upkeep was too much. It made all the happy times shine and shimmer in memory…a pain that is a grief and a relief. Ever standing with you in prayer. ..



  5. My cousin A. and her husband also filled in their pool sometime back, now a nice garden and lawn space. It’s a big change but it’s often the best one and surely is for you. It’s a HUGE change to not have your husband by your side. And big changes like this are bound to be emotional, esp. as it is still really so new. We still remember you in our prayers. I am so glad you have your church and were able to be with them today, that’s very good. HUGS and love sent your way!


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