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True Riches

May 20th, 2010 by Mary | 0

April 30, 2010      “True Riches”

In 1892, Anton Chekhov wrote a letter to his lover, Lydia Avilov. He said: “Yes, it is nice now in the country, not only nice but positively amazing. It’s real spring, the trees are coming out, it is hot. The nightingales are singing, and the frogs are croaking in all sorts of tones. I haven’t a halfpenny, but the way I look at it is this: the rich man is not he who has plenty of money, but he who has the means to live now in the luxurious surroundings given us by early spring.”

This was a good reminder for me today as we are getting ready to launch the guest house. We put everything we had into the move here, all our savings, borrowing what we didn’t have, running up credit card debt, waiting for the supposedly easy-to-get $8,000 first-time home owners’ rebate (applied October 13, then delays, snafus, more delays) to “seed” what we still need: a mattress, smoke detectors, new silverware and glasses, a coffeemaker. And, of course, all the gardening projects I have cut out for myself: myriads of plants, both edible and ornamental, with my “wish list” growing longer by the day as nursery catalogs stuff the mailbox and nurseries are now flooded with spring plants, waving gaily to me as I drive past, beckoning me to stop and bring them home.

Yesterday I removed three small trees that were dying from the depredations of hungry deer and bag worms, trimmed three rose bushes whose new leaves were poking through the dead oak leaves that served as their winter bed, watered the newly planted fruit orchard, planted a tomato in a hanging basket for the porch. Then, as the wind picked up, signaling the storm to come, I watched it rippling through the grasses, in a sprightly spring dance,

In the evening, I had a homemade meal of tabouli, then sat on the couch with the four dogs and cat, watching TV for both entertainment and tornado updates, then, after tucking them all into bed, sat on the front porch, sheltered from the wind and rain, with the night sky lit up with God’s fireworks.

I expect there will be a bill or two when the mail arrives, probably still minus the $8,000 the federal government still owes us, but I am reminded of the words of Chekhov that began this piece: “I haven’t a halfpenny, but the way I look at it is this: the rich man is not he who has plenty of money, but he who has the means to live now in the luxurious surroundings given us by early spring.”

And, by his measure of wealth, I am truly rich indeed.

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