There are bricks out in my garden. Salvage. I'm going to incorporate them into a path I've been wanting to build. Nope, they are not treated, they are standard masonry. Yes, I know the net effect on their lifetime in the dirt (and wet, and freeze).
To make matters worse, I am not going to prepare any screed to lay those bricks into. (Screed in my blog? You decide.) They are simply going to rest within the dirt, in a pattern I used at my last house. Each pattern will create a landing point, at regular intervals, to guide you through the garden. And to help keep you from stepping on the plants you're not supposed to step on.
The bricks were a gift, and I find myself incredibly grateful to have them. The fact that I accepted them is a tangible representation of me finally settling into this "new" house of ours (I've been here over three years now). We moved from the city to this suburb by choice, and based on the circumstances, it was the right thing to do--yet incredibly difficult for me. On the surface, the switch might appear to be a slam dunk: I left behind a 100+ year old house that was in need of work, offered a myriad of challenges (hmm, is that CLOTH wiring behind that lath? could this pipe really go nowhere? two closets TOTAL?) and oddities (gas pipes capped but still protruding from bedroom walls; niche for your block of ice; degree of slope in the upstairs hall that offered a launch for wheeled toys). I cursed some, but enjoyed most; that house and its neighbors became a part of my identity.
That yard reflected my new and growing interest in gardening, from bone dry novice to a moderately experienced gardener with a Master Gardner course under her belt. After 10 years, that yard went from a square of grass with some squared off bridal wreath spirea to the home of a moon garden, vegetable garden, "seasons" border, rescues from neighbors, transplants from grandparents, experiments successful and not. Abandoned bricks from remodeling projects in the neighborhood became the edges for raised beds, or "steppers" for a path. Rescue plants from local construction projects blended with "hand me down" plants from my grandparents. Eventually, I designed a small patio and path that actually got installed "properly," with screed and tumbled belgian block pavers. After nearly a decade of work and learning, it was really coming together.
Then we moved.
And life was different. The children, one of whom was born in the old house, required different kinds of attention. My new job required attention, period. My hours at my not-the-parenting-job increased. I waited the recommended year to watch what came up in the yard. I tried to learn the bones of the new yard to respect what worked and make plans for what would work better. I spent a fair amount of my free time helping a non-profit near and dear to my heart. Other challenges. And the garden waited more than a year.
At dinner a couple of weeks ago, magic words: "We have bricks. Do you want them?"
I actually paused before I said "yes." I was thinking practically. I didn't realize what a gift they would be.
I need to write our new friends a note, to express just how special their old bricks have turned out to be. As the summer winds down, they gave me an inspiration that helps me face its close: a reconnection to who I once was, and a sense of who I might be. Because it's not just that the garden is going to look better when this project is done. No matter when the brick project is actually done, I already feel better.
Sometimes a path connects more beginnings and ends than you can see.