Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Re-frame: It's an Opportunity. Right?

I stepped out into my backyard this morning, heading to my garden shed to retrieve a trowel and some gloves -- planning to drop some flower seeds into my front butterfly bed.  But on the way to the shed, something an unnatural shade of green caught my eye through my alley fence:

I couldn't really tell what it was... so I unlocked the gate and stepped out.  Then I could see clearly:

I got sort of a sick feeling. I looked down the alley, and turned and looked up the alley...

And then I looked down at my fence line:

Subtle.. but omnious.  I looked down the alley again, and there were more, lined up like little soldiers.

Oh no.... my beautiful, quiet little oasis of my abandoned alley... it appears its going to be disrupted.  I'm thinking of my many labor hours of trash pick up, clearing of weeds, crawling around on my hands and knees with Francisco pinning down spendy weed stop fabric, and then the arranging for and spreading of wood chips.  Admittedly I knew it was a risk.  I knew that at any time the City could come in and dig it up, or pave it... but by all appearances it had been abandoned for decades -- the odds seemed slim.

Old fence - before

New fence - after
When I left for work this morning I drove a few blocks out of my way past an alley that has been under-going a transformation for weeks.  I was hoping that I could decipher what they were doing and guess if that was what was headed my way.  I hoped for a worker bee to ask.  Alas, the street was totally blocked to through traffic, and there weren't any workers around.

Once at my desk, I called the City.  No specific information, but they say color of the paint and ribbon indicates sewer and drainage lines and that "digging may occur in that area."  Since our trash pick up is not in the alley, and our driveways are not in the alley, we will not receive notice prior to work commencing.

When I was lamenting to a friend about it, she asked if I could pull up the weed stop fabric?  Ha, I said, well I could... but it seems unlikely.  Although, I wonder if I could somehow roll it up towards my fence to save the wood chips... sigh.  Maybe I will try to catch the workers if I see them before they begin work and see what my options are.

It makes me think about how I handle change.  Almost 2 years ago I bought my house, not fully understanding how fabulous the neighborhood and neighbors would be.  I settled in, made fast friends with several of my neighbors, a few of whom now feel like family to me.  A couple months ago one of them put their house up for sale.  I was surprised at how sad it made me.  I had made my own happy little world within this community of homeowners -- not renters -- and I guess it never occured to me that one of them would actually SELL their house and move away!  Who would want to leave this?  And why?  I'm still in denial about that -- selfishly hoping that they end up staying --

And now, here comes a completely different type of change.  When I moved in, I did think it was odd that the alley behind my house was basically abandoned.  But I re-framed it into an advantage:  quiet, private... and with a little labor (okay and some cash), visually pleasing.  I put up the new fence... laid out some garden beds, built some yoga platforms... my little private oasis.

So now I will work on re-framing this as an opportunity.  There is no evidence that the City is going to pave the alley and that garbage trucks are going to start rambling through.  Maybe the work will give me a canvas of loose dirt to plant a mass of mint?  Or lavender... or mixed wild flower perennials...

Mostly we cannot control the world around us; we can only try to control how we react to change.  It's a good reminder lesson for me -- from little things to the larger picture -- I am not in charge.

No comments: