Proceed with caution

Published 3:46 am Wednesday, May 27, 2020

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The steady hum of my neighbor’s lawnmower provides a background to the lovely melody of the songbirds and wind chimes that I so enjoy on these lazy, sunny afternoons. Instead of being an annoyance, the noise of the mower reminds me of the constancy of our world. How many summers have I smelled the scent of fresh cut grass and found joy in the ordinary? As I scan my backyard, I embrace the sameness of this moment.

The rain of late has caused my little garden to flourish, along with unwanted grass that now needs attention. When I notice bare spots in the lawn that we have faithfully sodded, and watered, and fertilized, I almost laugh. We planted squash, peppers, tomatoes, and eggplant, and are happy to announce that all of the plants are enjoying their new home. We ran into quite a dilemma when I realized that treated timbers probably weren’t the best choice for a vegetable garden.

After researching the matter, I found many different expert opinions. And you would be correct if you guessed that some said the timbers were totally safe for this use, while others vehemently objected. I studied my findings and decided to err on the side of caution and line the bed with plastic. When I look at my little garden, I see my attempt to do the right thing, but still I wonder if I should have those timbers removed and replaced with concrete blocks just to be safe?

I don’t know if I would have even given it much of a thought in the past, but I seem much more intent upon getting expert opinions on things now. A little uncertainty mixed with caution seems to be the dominating force driving most of my friends and acquaintances lately. While everyone wants to get back to normal, all of the contrasting information and various opinions of the correct paths to take in doing so can leave a person in a bit of a conundrum.

Melinda, my daughter in Tennessee, married her best friend last week in a backyard ceremony at their new home. I never dreamed I would be watching the happy couple repeat their vows via Face Time, but the wedding was simple and beautiful. Although I missed the happy occasion, I plan on traveling to Tennessee in June to help her move into her new home and do some decorating.

My grandson, Aidan, completed his submarine training in Connecticut and transferred to his new base in Virginia without fanfare. He and the other young sailors are chafing somewhat at two weeks of quarantine in close quarters, but they are making the best of it.

And I know it is the same with us all. Life goes on, and we make the best of it. It is still lovely, and ugly, and challenging, and rewarding. We do our due diligence to get the facts and proceed with caution. And I think each of us is winning our personal battle when we do just that … Proceed.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at