One year ago today the Twist family rolled their slightly crippled RV (remember, we had bottomed out our black tank drain hose at Mount Shasta) into Salem. We intended to be here for a two days and our friend Doug keeps joking that it has been the longest April Fool's Day ever. Oddly enough, today is also Palm Sunday which is the one year anniversary of our arrival at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church. Interesting that the one year marker for both events falls on the same day. Someone at church today told me that our family is a great testimony to following God even when we don't know why. I actually laughed out loud when she said it. Personally, I feel like a great failure in my faith because I spend way too much time trying to figure out the "why," which totally gets in the way of just having faith. Of just breathing rather than the gasping that it so second nature to me.
Living in Oregon is still such a surprise to me, having never set a toe over the state line before a year ago today. I really think God has such a sense of humor. We bottomed out our RV, thought we would be in Salem long enough to fix it and see old friends, and here we are, a year later. Homeowners. Jobholders. Oregon driver's licenses. Well, Don anyway. I still have to take care of that little detail. Taxpayers. Upstanding citizens with great neighbors, friends, and a wonderful church family. I'm positive God chuckles at me a lot, especially when I think I have things figured out.
Speaking of figuring things out, I am trying to figure out gardening and landscaping. For years I've held the conviction that somewhere inside me is a a gardener longing to be released. All that was needed was some soil of her own. I now have soil. And grass. And weeds. And trees. And a drainage problem. And no real idea of how to proceed. I also have a landscape consultant who, in a free consultation on Tuesday, will attempt to tell me what to do with all of the above.
I'm a brave girl and I love to have a good project so last week, armed with a rusty pruning saw, managed to take out 8 of 10 trees in the yard. I'm feeling reams of guilt because my friend Cassy made me promise not to get rid of the trees in the front yard for one year but when the landscaping guy, on his first visit, agreed that the trees were way too large for my yard and were probably wreaking havoc on my main water pipe, and subsequently whipped out his chainsaw, my promise crumbled in the presence of such temptation. I will humbly beg her forgiveness when I see her but man, does my lawn look better! In three and a half minutes he had both trees down, after Donald and I have been moaning about them for three and half months! Inspired, I went crazy on the trees in the backyard, all by myself. I issued handsaws to the boys, promised financial remuneration, and we spent the next three days cutting limbs into serviceable, S'more worthy, fire pit wood. I got to some crazy heights and actually fell out of one tree, escaping with only a large bruise. I'm pretty sure I made my next door neighbor, Saul, pretty nervous. And the guy across the street actually yelled to me, "Old Steve is rolling in his grave."
Steve is the deceased husband of the previous owner who not only took great pride in having the nicest lawn in a 10 block radius but also spent copious amounts of time actually watering his trees. Call me crazy but this is Oregon. There are only two months of the year when water doesn't pour down in great torrents from the sky on a daily basis. We discovered quickly that cutting down trees brings the people out. This is the great treehugger state and neighbors who have been hibernating all winter came out to see what we were doing. Cutting down trees is not The Done Thing in Oregon. We do plan on replacing some of them with fruit trees and other edible vegetation so maybe that will make up for our seemingly wanton destruction. And if they get too terribly angry, I know where to find sharp tools!
Here's to another year in Salem!