We planted trees in the backyard on Friday night—a tiny Magnolia with shy, pink blooms, and a straight and sturdy Pear. GB dug beneath gray clouds while I waited for the sky to unfurl. I pitched in wherever I could; this was, after all, 36×37 assignment #35: Plant a Tree.
I’m glad I got this photo, because I really did try. In all honesty, though, I’m a little short on brute force, and when it comes to digging, I’m largely unsuccessful.
I’ll admit, then, that the scene mostly looked like this:
He We didn’t have much time to work before the sun set, but it was enough time for me to thank GB for being so supportive and for helping me with the project this year. (You can read my first post and the explanation of 36×37 here.) If I thought he was my best friend before the last 365 days, I know it with all my heart now.
I tried to tell him so as he scooped soil back into the hole. I hoped he could tell I was sincere.
It started to rain. He didn’t pause, he just kept planting.
At its start, this project was really just a cover for my early mid-life crises. I hypothesized the lengths I thought I’d need to go to keep from smacking my head against the predictability of daily routine. I thought I’d need big doses of adventure to keep myself from growing old and stale. What I didn’t realize was that I’d been planting and harvesting adventures all along—even in the smallest things, like sipping a new Greek coffee, or planning a quiet evening out with GB, or whispering bedtime stories with the boys. The big-time adventures—like flying the Light Sport aircraft and doubling down in Vegas and taking trapeze lessons and standing on the state line—were great, truly. But when I started to look for new experiences, I realized I don’t need to work so hard to create them. They find me, they find us, until it’s absolutely intoxicating.
I did right to bring my family with me on this year’s adventures. They were essential, because all along I understood how much they are the critical ingredients to my happiness. It’s so much better to see life’s surprises together, and no matter which direction I look, I will always land on my family’s faces.
Just as importantly, this blog became a place to seek out a community. I had no idea the blogosphere was full of such remarkable people. Now I’m rich with friendship—the face to face kind, and the screen to screen kind, too, because I’ve found both to be equally important. I’ve met good people, excellent writers and story tellers, all with a love for experience. Best of all, I’ve become entrenched in dozens of funny, insightful, engaging, ongoing conversations. No small talk here.
It was so much more and so much better than I expected.
This morning, at breakfast, I had an idea.
“You know what we should do this year?” I said. “We should start a box. And every time we do something new or interesting or different, we should find a token of that moment, bring it home and put it in the box. At the end of the year, we can look at it all together. I can blog about each one so we have a quick record of each…”
And now, I finally know what the next phase of 36×37 will be. Forget the race against time. Forget the numbers. We’ll just look at this life together and see what we can squeeze out of it.
…As for assignment #36? I did it. And I ate the most gorgeous ice cream birthday cake to celebrate.
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