At the VA Medical Center in Nashville
I spent a day at the VA Medical Center in Nashville with Dennis, earlier this week. In the late 1960s, he injured his hand while working on a Navy aircraft carrier flight deck. Now the injury is affecting his ability to grip with that hand, so he had a morning appointment related to that. Then he had a 3-hour wait for an unrelated appointment in the afternoon.
While Dennis was at his first appointment, I waited for him in a lobby on the third floor that overlooks a courtyard. The last time I spent time looking through that window, workers were laying the walkway. It was interesting to see the finished project. One thing bothered me, though -- a red piece of garbage on the rocks.
|The courtyard, seen through a third floor window|
When we went back to the first floor, I walked outside, crunched my way across the rocks, picked up that piece of trash, and put it in a garbage can. It was a jagged piece of red plastic with a few small white words on one side. I decided it was part of a broken sign. Maybe it blew off one of the surrounding rooftops.
|In the background, the window where I took the first picture.|
Every plant in the courtyard makes a statement. The flower planters had not seen any attention this spring. A scraggly pansy was growing in the corner of one planter. In another, a single tulip was almost ready to bloom. Why not plant ivy in the flower boxes if they aren't going to be kept full of flowers?
|Unexpected visual treat|
I didn't spent my entire day analyzing this courtyard, even though it may sound like it. After I got that piece of red plastic trash picked up, I spent the rest of the afternoon in 19th century South Dakota with Norwegian settlers -- Giants in the Earth by O. E. Rölvaag. After we finally got home, I sat down and finished the book.
In Giants in the Earth, there are great dreams, mighty labors, well-earned victories, crippling fears, terrible loneliness, and heartbreaking losses. Several days later, I am still mulling over what I read.