Fantastic Friday: The Great Outdoors

Okay, so it isn’t Friday. The weather has been so amazing that I’ve been spending my time outside. But now that it’s raining—and 11:30 at night—I decided to sit down and write this post.

Anyone who knows me knows that I dread winter. I remember distinctly the moment when I fully realized how much winter impacted me. I was standing outside with the dogs, and something felt off. I looked around, half expecting an intruder to show up in my periphery. That’s the kind of creepy I felt.

I looked left.

No one.

I looked right.

No one.

But it wasn’t just no one. It was nothing. No birds. No leaves. No life. Not even an airplane or a car disrupted the silence. It felt unnatural, the way I imagined life on a barren planet would be.

That was when I realized I missed the sound of leaves rushing with the wind (since I teach etymology, I know a fancy word for the rustling of leaves: psithurism). Even now, as I sit typing with my window open, I hear the wind rustling through the early spring leaves and the peepers in a nearby pond. I hear life.

This week, I was blessed with fantastic weather and spring break. I spent much of my time working on “Phase I” of a clubhouse I am building for my daughter. Phase I involves a sandbox and the base and roof of the clubhouse structure.

In high school, I volunteered to help build the sets for my school’s musicals. They were extensive, often involving multi-level structures with stairs, doorways, and the like. I put that knowledge to use and took advantage of the nice weather. It was the perfect excuse to spend hours outdoors with the corgis.

It started with a few sketches.

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And then some framing.

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And finally, the finished structure… until Phase II.

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My daughter loves it and has already spent several hours playing in the sandbox.

Phase II involves walling in the back half of the structure, including doors and windows, and shingling the roof. But that can wait. For this week, I enjoyed my accomplishment by eating lunch by the sandbox with my favorite person in the world and my two corgis by my side.

I’m thankful for the time and resources to make this project, and for the opportunities I took advantage of in volunteering for set construction and helping my dad with various projects in order to increase my knowledge and abilities. As my favorite movie, Back to the Future reminds us, if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.

And beautiful weather certainly can’t hurt.