(nine) July 2008. My relationship with our backyard is fraught. It’s seems like it should be such a nice place to be, but it’s like this neglected growth on the house. It gets rundown and overgrown, and when we finally find the time to do something about it, it sucks up the whole day just to deal with it. Then we’re so tired and sweaty all we want to do is come inside, shower, and relax indoors for the rest of the day. I want to fix this. I think we can fix it. I found this photo and it brought back such a flood of memories of how we’ve used our back patio through the years. We may not use it as much as we’d like to, but it makes a great base for a giant inflatable swimming pool, or – in a pinch – a medium sized bucket. Here’s the scene: scorching hot midwestern summer day, M working on something in the basement, E’s puttering around collecting mosquito bites and asking for the sprinkler to be set up. Or maybe just a bucket and the hose. She’s not picky. It works. I stand at the kitchen window and watch her. The bricks beneath her were once buried in the backyard. We dug them out, one by one, in another July, a lifetime ago.