Part II: Yard work is good for your soul

All week the weather had been October perfect. 

No temperature complaints, humidity not noticeable, and a blue sky not matched by anything created by a paint chemist in a lab mixing colors. Toss in some tree leaves starting to change their attire, and you have what I believe is God’s best month—October.

But by Friday, the weather gurus at the National Weather Service started tossing raindrops into the forecast for Saturday, October 10.

That was to be our second yard work is good for your souls at Trinity.

When I checked the radar early on Saturday morning, I could see the rain creeping toward us. Retrieving the paper from the front lawn, the sky was gray with those low, thick clouds just waiting for water to be squeezed from them like a wet dish rag. It looked like rain, felt like rain. Unless there was an unexpected delay by the weather angels, it was going to rain.

We were scheduled to start working at 8:30. By 8:00, raindrops had started to fall.

I told the Commander Supreme, I was going to Trinity to put signs on doors—stating that the work day was canceled.

But, she said, “Why?”  And she followed up with, “Some people might like working in the rain, if it isn’t coming down in buckets.”

I liked the logic. I grabbed a hat, an old raincoat, and headed to church. 

Quickly, I staged bottled water, access to restrooms, and a few tools.

By 8:30, four brave souls had found their way to Trinity. Pat Satterfield, Callie Stuart, the Commander, and David Priest were present and dressed for the weather. The three ladies worked in three different sections weeding and trimming, and David with his power washer tackled a section of curbing and sidewalk on the Stuart Hall Road side of the building.

A mountain of mulch awaited me in the front parking lot along Forest Avenue. Previous weeding and edging under dogwood trees and butterfly bushes were now ready for mulch.

I had an old piece of laminated particle board to use as a ramp for curb jumping. If I was lucky enough to dump and spread mulch in that first round of targets, then the next area would be the Veterans Memorial Garden.

The rain came down gently. This was what a farmer might call a soaking rain needed to quell a long dry spell for a thirsty earth. The raindrops didn’t pound the ground and run off. No, those drops hit softly, and slowly slid down toward the roots below the weedy turf.

Once again, church member, Mike Hildebrand, provided the dark rich mulch. Load by load, the pile started to shrink a bit.

At some point, I took a break to check on our waterlogged team. They were all in good spirits. And their handiwork was quite visible. By 10:30, the ladies were ready to call it a day, but each promised to return on one of those postcard October days.

David and I kept at it a bit longer. I’m always amazed at how different sidewalks and curbs look after an encounter with a power washer. Like the ladies with the weed eating and trimming, David had the magic touch.

Mulch was now spread under the dogwoods and butterfly bushes. Multiple loads of mulch had been dumped in the Veterans garden. I would work on the spreading next week.

I looked up at the American flag in the Veterans garden. At the top of the flagpole, it too was rain soaked. The flag was draped around the pole, listless and resting. But even on this no sunshine day, it was an undimmed splotch of color against a gray backdrop.

What I thought was going to be a washout, a day of work to be rescheduled, turned out to be a nice surprise. 

Four good hearted people said to heck with the rain, I’m going out there anyway. And in their own unique way, their commitment was a bit of unselfish sunshine.

We all are going to face gray, rain dampened days in life. 

But unbeknown to us, sometimes our capacity to weather those days are found in the hearts of quiet souls. They show up when least expected. But, they are like a ray of sunshine when life has just about washed us out.

Rain dampened flag Veterans Memorial Garden Trinity UMC photo Bill Pike

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