One of my favourite groups is The Alan Parsons Project, a progressive rock band that graced the charts between 1975 and 1990 (yes, I’m dating myself again). I have all of their albums. Arguably, their best work is The Turn of a Friendly Card from 1980. It’s certainly the one I listen to the most. Arguably again the best track on that album is “Time”. I’ve had its refrain going through my head in the last few days, perhaps because I’m seeing the effects of time up close around the place Mrs Thomson and I have called home for the last nineteen years:
But time / Keeps flowing like a river / To the sea
Many years ago, after we had our home’s original deck in the backyard replaced – I can’t remember exactly when, but I’d say almost fifteen years – I built a pergola out of red cedar on one side, to provide some shade from the afternoon sun and give our honeysuckle plants something to grow on. I noticed a distinct deterioration in the structure over the last year or so and this winter, the winds caused some pieces to break off outright. It was time for the pergola to go. A few days ago, Mrs Thomson and I, crowbar, hammer and saw in hand, demolished what I’d so lovingly built and not before time.
The wood had rotted to a degree I’d not even imagined and one of the four metal post supports had completely rusted through, no doubt helped by my male dogs using said post as aiming point. It had been holding up only because of the posts on either side of it. One strong gust of wind, I suspect, and I’d have been picking up debris and not doing an orderly deconstruction.
Sadly, that’s not the end of it. The deck itself needs partial replacing. Several of the planks, also western red cedar, have begun rotting but we need to stretch our deck’s life out by another 2-3 years until we’re ready for the major addition we’ve planned. So I’ll be spending the next few days tearing out the bad planks and replacing them with less expensive pressure treated lumber. Considering that each plank is held down by sixteen nails (after all, they’re 12 feet long), I’ll be getting a good workout pulling the old nails and hammering in the new ones. I’m not looking forward to it, but like the song says, time keeps flowing and I’ve no choice but to flow with it. The only place were one can fight the passage of time is in science-fiction and even then, it rarely works out well.
If the deck were the only project for 2016, it might not be so bad, but it’s only one among many. Step by step, I guess. One task at a time.
At least my main job, writing novels, is still moving along well. I’m about one third done incorporating my editor’s comments for Fatal Blade. We had a good discussion yesterday about the opening pages where she convinced me that the prologue I’d added during the first re-write was not only unnecessary but detracted from the flow. Of course, I’ve downed tools on Like Stars in Heaven until Fatal Blade goes through the final round of editing, but I was two-thirds done with the first draft as of last week.