When Tara came by the other day she brought a CD of old pictures of the yard that she'd scanned in; today I walked around outside, to get some pictures from the same points of view for comparison.
When I look at those old photos I am actually shocked. Which you really think I wouldn't be; after all, I lived here, and in fact was living here when most of these pictures were taken. I really should remember it.
I said in a comment a couple posts down that I've blocked it out, how much of a horror this yard was, but that's not quite it; it's that, back then, I didn't know how to see. Not, even, that I was inured to it or had simply grown used to it, though that is probably part of it, but that I was unable to see that it was wrong in the first place. Or rather, I was unable to see the degree to which it was wrong, abnormal, sick, even. Because I did know it was fucked up at the time, even if I was nowhere near being able to articulate how fucked up. Never mind why it was.
And if I'm not remembering the yard as that bad, then I'm not giving myself (and Tara) anywhere near enough credit for cleaning it up. And yes, part of that is that it has been fairly gradual; this has taken us more than a decade now. Well, I say 'us'; really in the first few years, back when our father was still here, it was Tara doing most of the work, at least as far as the cars went, since she for some reason had the patience to deal with Dad. Or maybe that's just another way of not giving myself enough (in this case, any) credit, who knows.
It is always good to pause for a moment in the middle of a project and see how far you've come. Though, really, we are well past the mid-point, I think, at least as the cars go. If there were seventy-eight here originally, and there are only ('only,' ha) twenty-one left, then we are 73% of the way through that part; and as far as the pure junk goes, I'd guess from the pictures that the percentage is about the same, if not greater. We've even made some major strides with the indoor spaces, like the garage, and though the shop is still pretty full, stuff has been moving out of there. So we're, really, I'd guess, something like three quarters done. And that's pretty damned amazing.
So let's see what it looked like then and today. Here's one looking towards the back yard, taken in September of 2001. This was yet another pile of wood, this time piled up and around a large rock. On the left there is a mound of dirt, left over from I'm not sure what, perhaps digging the foundation for the garage in the sixties. When we were kids it had been there for so long that the trees there were big enough to build a tree house in. Said trees are now long gone and the pile itself flattened and used to fill in what was ostensibly a pond my father had dug out, but was mostly an overgrown, damp marshy spot intermittently filled with runoff from the road.
And today. That haphazard pile of wood on that giant mound of charcoal will shortly be burned, just like the rest of it.
Here's the back of the garage again; this is a slightly different picture than one Tara has run before, from May 2001.
And today. Incidentally I put those walls in myself a few years back. One of my strategies upon moving here was to claim previously carred-up and junked-up spaces for new gardens. That way my father couldn't just put another car back in the same spot.
Here's one looking towards the shop, also from May 2001. I'm pretty sure Tara was standing on something, probably a bus roof, to get this. I guess it held; honestly I'm a little surprised.
And today. It's not quite taken from the same angle, but it's close. There are still several Beetles over there, the damned things.
And then one taken from a little further over to the south, and pointed at what were the pen and the pond, from late October 2002:
That's quite a lot of empty grassy ground exposed, isn't it? And still, I look at that and think What an impossible mess.