Posted on May 31st, 2013
e have to do something about the gate, I told him.
Which one? he asked.
It was a fair question. Without exception, the gates that separate our backyard from the front are in some state of disrepair. Taken together they are, to a man, derelict and decomposing. On this particular occasion, however, I was referring specifically to the outer-most wooden gate, the low, toothless wooden partition that swings faithfully open on every early morning I push it open wide enough to allow the dog and I outside.
No problem, he assured me. I can fix that.
But there’s always so much to do, I fretted. Everyone has to be ferried about and fed. Where does an aesthetic concern like gate repair or—bite your overreaching tongue, gate construction—even fit into a list with grocery shopping and trips to the dentist? I can’t remember the first time we talked about the gates but I know it was a year ago at least. In all likelihood, it was more like years, plural.
Then everything happened at once: a trip to buy boards and stain, an expedition to the garage to retrieve saws and drills. In the span of an afternoon, something so much wonderfully better than our battered gate leaned on the patio, drying, that I spent the better part of a half hour sitting on the steps and looking at it.
A construction both whimsical and substantive had defied the very nature of our lives to come into being. Because of this alone, it appears to me to be full of possibility. Who knows what a gate like this might open out onto?∗