so much depends
 upon
a red wheel
barrow
glazed with rain
water
beside the white
chickens.

So wrote the young aspiring poet William Carlos Williams in 1923. At his young age, how did he know?

At his age, I was aspiring to be the world’s greatest poet or film star – or a cheerleader.

Later, as a wife and mother I strove for domestic perfection – a wish equally out of reach.

In my corporate career, it was about beachfront cottages, trips to France, gaudy diamonds, Prada purses.

Now, with one toe into my sixth decade on this earth, I want much simpler and more easily attainable things. A wheelbarrow, for one.

Red would be good because it would be easily spotted amidst the dandelions and buttercups I battle daily.

“Glazed with rain” would mean my flowers and herbs and tomato plants would not need to be watered today, freeing me up to do something else I’m passionate about. Search for antique pottery, maybe, or painting that abstraction of a peacock I’ve been picturing in my mind for months now.

“White chickens.” Wow. Maybe I’ll get some hens that will supply me with eggs still warm from the coop. Currently I have to drive all the way into town (eight miles) to buy eggs a day or two old from the friendly receptionist at the Extension Service office. Or maybe free-range chickens – another paradigm of the possible.

The young Williams could not have imagined how I now long for a wheelbarrow. The one I inherited with this farm must be covered with a plastic bag to be used because of the holes rusted through the bottom

I have the money to buy a new one, but not that is not entirely the point. I want to cherish it in my fantasy, and eventually get the one that is perfect. Red, yes:  that shiny candy-apple red. But what about the wheel? Some say that the pneumatic wheels most barrows are equipped with are not at all satisfactory. “Every time you need it  you have to stop and put air in it,” my neighbor Sandy tells me.

But yesterday at Lowe’s I saw a man pushing a green wheelbarrow toward the cash registers. What about that pneumatic wheel? I asked him.

“Oh, it’s perfect,” he assured me. “Don’t bother with the solid rubber ones; they’re too wobbly.”

So I’m nowhere near the point of purchasing one; I’ll have to stew over this dilemma a little longer.

As a six-decader (I hate to think of myself as a “senior”), I have an entirely new  hierarchy of needs. After the wheelbarrow, a rain barrel.

I also long for a rock-encased pond with a waterfall, perfect for the front yard of my handmade log house, so that the deer so plentiful around here could drink there. I would even leave dried corn for them so they’d leave my zinnias alone.

Then:  a salt-water swimming pool with sauna and hot tub. The back yard is the perfect place: a sunny field adjacent to my little cottage garden of tomatoes, peppers and squash, garlanded by a wire fence draped with gourds, wisteria and briar roses.

So, you see, don’t you? So much depends on a red wheelbarrow.

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  • alexsandra stewart May 26, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    I’ve always wanted a wheelbarrow,even though in my small yard, I’ve no need for one. I do have a rain barrel made out of a wine cask.

    Reply
  • Elizabeth W. May 26, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    I really enjoyed this post. It makes me want a bigger garden than just my wee pots of herbs on the city windowsill.

    Reply