You might be happy to know I’ve already made opening steps toward one of my goals for 2015: “Make modifications to our seldom-visited westerly side yard.” The space I’m talking about, it’s an exaggeration to call it a “yard;” it is actually the small strip between our house and the fence on the west side, about five-and-a-half feet wide. It used to be weeds and dirt and we never thought about using it until last spring when Cyndi had it filled with cement, making a continuously smooth sidewalk-type surface. I have been thinking about how to use the space ever since Cyndi’s modification.
And my first idea was to set up my hammock. Once I put up a shade screen it would be a perfect place for swinging naps.
Cyndi and the kids gave this hammock to me back in the 1990s, and for years I had it set up in the shade under our Honey Locust tree in the backyard. I loved to lie in that hammock and read the Sunday paper while gently swinging myself by pulling on the slender rope tied to the porch post. I learned to swing and sleep at the same time. Sometimes I wrote in my journal and contemplated on spiritual things. It was wonderful and peaceful. It was home.
In my opinion, there are two marks of adulthood: (1) looking forward to naps; and (2) being happy when a phone call is for someone else. I’m always happy when the phone isn’t for me, but not as happy as I am when I’m taking a nap.
Nowadays, I typically take only one nap per week, on Sunday afternoons, and I have to work to keep it. There’s always something else important to do, even things I enjoy doing, like riding my bike with the cycling club. But if I miss my nap I feel cheated all week. I won’t be as creative, or as smart, or as friendly.
Unfortunately, napping in my hammock in the shade ended when I cut our Honey Locust tree down after bores attacked it in the summer of 1999. It broke my heart to lose the tree.
Cyndi and I planted it ourselves when it was just a one-inch diameter youngster, and through the years it grew into a trunk of 18 inches. It was a significant tree; the biggest and oldest impression we'd made on earth. I was inspired by that tree.
And without my favorite shade tree I didn’t know what to do with my beloved hammock. I tried setting it up around the yard and under the porch, but it took up too much space. With stand, it is about twelve feet long. Eventually, reluctantly, I put it into storage.
When we moved into our present house in 2008 I stashed the hammock and stand behind the freezer in the garage, hoping I would soon find a place to set it up.
And now, finally, our newly remodeled side yard seems perfect. There is plenty of privacy (No one wants to take a nap out in public), and I knew I could manufacture enough shade.
Last Saturday, in keeping with my 2015 goal, I pulled the pieces of the hammock and stand from the garage and set it all up. It was my first of many modifications to the side yard.
But the hammock was too wide. What I mean is, it fit inside the space, and with deft maneuvering I could climb in, but there wasn’t enough room on either side for swinging. It was quite disappointing.
I didn’t give up, though. I ordered a narrower net-style hammock and I’m planning to make it work.
Why does it matter, you may ask? Because having a hidden corner of the yard that feels like home is a big deal. Because a hammock that doesn’t swing is just another bed. Because, not only do I crave adult naps, but I need to move. Because swinging in a hammock settles brain floaters, calms storms, reduces to-do lists, and brings peace and tranquility. I need more of that,
And Because I’m certain that using my reborn hammock will open my mind and jump-start my creativity toward the accomplishment of all the rest of those 2015 goals.
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32