My husband is up and on a bike ride with buddies before dawn, I sip coffee and play in the garden from daybreak until the kids slowly wake up around 9am.
This Saturday was decidedly different.
Sleep comes and goes these days depending on what I'm mulling over and how comfortable or uncomfortable I can make myself in bed. Friday night wasn't so bad but I managed to sleep in beyond my typical early morning rise. Brandon had rented a rototiller the night before and begun what would be a long, laborious process of digging up the front lawn so I could reclaim the space for more edible garden. He opted out of his early morning ride and, in advance, announced he would rather take one later in the day.
With all that in mind, I half expected to be roused by the sound of loud ground turning. Instead, I awoke, not to rototiller noise, but someone doing the dishes, quite loudly, in the kitchen.
Cup of coffee in hand, I wandered out the the backyard to sit and soak in the early morning cool before the heat wave returned. My husband talked a mile a minute in my direction and it was hard to absorb what he was saying since the topics were all over the subject map.
Finally, completely unable to follow, I said, "I am really interested in what you have to say but I'm really struggling to process anything before I get through my first cup of coffee."
"Oh, sorry," he muttered not unhappily and continued to fill up the morning with thoughts on the day.
This is HIGHLY unusual behavior but the last month has been HIGHLY unusual all the way around.
Walking back in for a coffee refill, I noticed a box of Stan's donuts on the table. Another HIGHLY unusual sight at our house. Rather than sit out back, I chose to observe the progress that had been made in last night's evening rototiller sesh.
As I opened the front door, I saw a dear friend, arranging buckets of flowering sage in my freshly turned ground.
"Hi there," I was only slightly surprised thinking Norine must have seen the grand groundbreaking the night prior and came bearing gifts for our new front garden.
She was sheepish in her response, as if caught in the act of something criminal, but chose to join me on the back porch for some tea. Still dressed in my nightclothes, I thought the backyard was a better locale to enjoy the garden and my company.
Within minutes, a head peered around the back fence. Norm, a cycling friend of Brandon's who, or so I had been told, was unable to join the early morning Saturday ride because he had to be home by 7:45am.
I thought, "Odd that he's at my house at exactly the same time but sweet of him to stop by to see how I'm doing."
Sweet, odd or otherwise, I was now dressed borderline obscenely for the company in my presence, so I went in to get changed. When I returned, the oddities began to come together. As we all wandered through the back gate into the front to assess the rototiller's fine work, Brett's extended cab truck pulled up. Karie came from the other direction, garden gloves in hand. Andrea and Peter popped out of their car with shovels and a pitchfork. Kathryn meandered from down the way.
And the friends kept coming.
Unbeknownst to me, Saturday June 29th had been declared "The Stacey Tinianov Front Garden Make-Over Day" and everyone had come not only to celebrate but to pitch in.
A proclamation was read, I shed a few tears of gratitude and amazement and then the shovels started digging, the pick-axe started swinging and everyone with a Y-chromosome took a turn with the rototiller.
Norine whisked me off to the nursery where I chose kumquat, orange, pomegranate and persimmon trees; blueberry bushes; bougainvilleas; kangaroo paws and more. The day was hot, hot, hot but you wouldn't have noticed by the smiles on people's faces.
Not only are they incredibly generous with their time and their energy, my friends are quite possibly the happiest group of individuals ever! As the day wore on, the fruit and donuts made way for grilled burgers and chips; the coffee and juice morphed into bottles of soda and beer but the heat only intensified. Some people stayed all day, some just stopped by to dig a little, spread some love and move on but everyone came with positive energy and a smile. I wasn't much help, in fact I was deemed the mascot by some, but after awhile I gave up on my need to participate with sweat equity and just soaked up the love.
Over 30 people joined us Saturday. It was a modern day barn raising without the barn part!
I am still astounded by the event, still amazed at the outpouring and still humbled and energized by the love. And oh-so grateful for my life and the incredible people in it!