May 28, 2017

Someday, I’ll Get Around to It

Illustration by George Danby

Illustration by George Danby

• By John F. Chisholm •

I put off writing this essay as long as I could.

Alas!  There’s so much to do on a farm that rationales for delay are second nature and easily ― no, subconsciously ― made.  Worse, they’re believable.  Beyond even that, they’re true.

That’s because on any given day the lawn needs mowing, the fences repair, that section of the barn should be re-shingled, there’s a tree down in the south field, the diesel tractor has a flat tire and so on.  And on and on.  I choose my task and get to work.  If certain jobs stay on this list for years, is that really my fault?

For example, the front of this house needs paint.  Unfortunately, it needs scraping first. Before I get to that, more than one or two clapboards should be replaced and the corners, edges and windows all caulked.  These are jobs that I’ve done many times before.  I know them well.  Too well.  Two stories up on a swaying, bouncing ladder, reaching at arm’s length to one side, then the other, while repairing the wall I’m leaning against isn’t any fun.  In fact suggesting that these tasks are favorite occupations is a gross overstatement.

The problem arises that justifying their delay are hosts of good, plausible reasons:  First, there are all those other jobs still waiting.  Next I fractured my skull in my youth.  The fracture ran through my right ear, deafening me on that side.  That, in turn, has led to vestibular difficulties.  In other words balance isn’t my strong suit.

Of interest, that doesn’t stop me with other jobs.  The truth is that I have several ladders.  I use them when cleaning the chimneys, installing birdhouses, pruning apple trees, emptying gutters and all that.  More.  It’s not that I’m afraid of heights.  Rather it’s that I should be.

Using that rationale at my convenience rather as an actual guideline is the issue.

Because I didn’t get around to painting the front of the house last summer.  Yes.  It still needs it.  Badly.  But fall is my busy season.  My finger lifts, pointing skyward as though illumination has just struck.  “There’s always next spring!”

Right.

Next spring isn’t the issue.  Rather the problem arises in that murky, gray area where truth and rationale meet.

Within it lurks the fear that for some jobs, they never do.

Admitting that was extremely difficult.

As I say, I put off writing this essay as long as I could.