Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Wisdom from the Alley

The alley behind Chez Gainey…



I worked long hours in the yard over the weekend, and a great deal of my efforts were spent in the alley behind our home. I even weedwacked a good way down the alley where people have let things get really overgrown. Someone asked me why I spend so much time beautifying a place that not many see or care about. I know it may seem silly to some, but I drive down the alley every day to my garage, and I want to have a happy home to greet me from stem to stern. I am a big believer in the idea that we make our environment what we want it to be with our thoughts and actions- on every level.  I want my environment to be peaceful, beautiful, and welcoming, and the tangled mess of weeds that was there before was chaotic and definitely not what I would consider beautiful. If you don’t like something in your life, work to change it.  What a difference a bit of sweat equity makes- to the alley and to my perspective. 



I moved from the alley to the area just inside of the alley gate, a place we call Secret Garden. Dan (aka, ‘Mr. MacKenzie’) was busy building two very large flower boxes for me to plant herbs in, as our property is steep and rocky, making it challenging to find good places to grow things in the soil. It was fun with us all together working; Dan sawing and hammering, me weeding and planting flowers, the dogs playing tug with each other in between naps (they are hard workers when it comes to playtime and napping). 

Once the largest flower box was ready, Dan asked me to help him set it into place so that he could level it….a challenge on the incline. Here’s where the “rock and the hard place” comes in- as I lowered my side down onto a big rock, the box slipped and landed right on my pinky finger, smashing it into the rock below. Instant tears. It’s amazing how much something like a pinky finger can hurt. I was so grateful to have been wearing my gloves…and that I didn’t have a big performance coming up. Dan excused me from flower box duty from that point forward. I was grateful for that, too. 


Sweet Kasey’s look of love…

We worked until evening, both of us completely exhausted and filthy. After medicinal showers, we enjoyed a cocktail and the views on the top deck before grilling out and settling in for good conversation and relaxation. Everything seemed sweeter tinged as it was with our sense of accomplishment from a good day’s work. 

I never want to forget to be grateful for my Dan, our home, our animals- for my life. I am reminded each day to work on creating and bringing beauty and joy into my life, and hopefully into the lives of others, as well. It’s really so simple if we let it be- as I often tell my students, “Positive thoughts, positive actions, positive results.” We can choose to make our surroundings peaceful and inspiring, no matter how humble our circumstances. We can choose to make our relationships meaningful and joyful. We can choose to live each day with the mindset that the world is a place filled with good and worthy people and things. Or not. I know what I choose- my glass remains half full to overflowing. Life happens in the moment, and I want to make each and every moment count. 


2 thoughts on “Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Wisdom from the Alley

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