There’s a Sufi parable about a farmer whose five horses got out of the pen and ran away. The neighbors came ‘round and said they were sorry for his bad luck. The farmer answered, “Oh, good luck, bad luck—who knows?” He was onto something there, ‘cause in a few days his horses came home followed by a hundred wild mountain horses. Here come the neighbors again. “Dude, you’re rich! Such good luck.” they said, for in that land, horses were a farmer’s greatest wealth. “Oh, good luck, bad luck—who knows?” was his comeback. Sure enough, when his son was out in the corral breaking the horses, taming them down so they’d be worth more, he was thrown and busted his leg and hip and couldn’t walk. “Such bad luck,” the neighbors cried. We know what he said: “Oh, good luck, bad luck—who knows?” And turns out he was right. A war broke out and the army came around conscripting all the young men to fight in a terrible border clash where many had already died. His son was not chosen for the army because of his injury.
This way and that way with the luck. But if you notice, the farmer’s luck kept turning like a waterwheel, turning toward the good. Point is, wait and see what comes around from something that seems at the time unfortunate.
Like yesterday, Day 4, that I didn’t write about because I was grumpy. What happened, I was thinking about the high water that’s already been up around the wheels and tires of the trailer. Even if it’s not likely to float away in a flash flood as heavy as the rig is, it would not be good for the hub bearings to sit under water for a long time.
So I borrowed a truck with a tow hitch from Suzanne’s son. Told him I only needed it for a quick five minutes. Hook up to the trailer, drag it from beside the boathouse forty feet to higher ground, unhook from it and get his truck back where I got it. “I’ll do it now before that thunder boomer rattling off in the distance gets here.”
It took me forty-five minutes! The last few minutes were under skies ripped with lightning. I was frustrated and hot. Those tears I mentioned to go with the blood and the sweat…well, not quite. But close.
Basically, a “keeper”, this movable cap on the trailer tongue that locks down and prevents it coming loose, got jammed with the trailer hooked up behind the borrowed truck. What’s usually a flick-of-the-fingers operation turned into ten thousand trips back and forth fetching tools and pry bars and wooden blocks. Then the trailer jack twisted on the tongue and I had to get a second jack to lift it until I could block it up and straighten it. Finally, I was able to pry the keeper loose with a six-foot iron chisel bar. Which I flung into the bed of the trailer.
When I got the truck free of the offending trailer, I drove away and left tools right where I’d used them. I did not return to the work site at all yesterday.
Then today, I started again taking off the vinyl siding. Soon as I went up the ladder, I dropped the special tool for separating the vinyl seams so you can peel away a sheet. The ladder was leaned against the wall over the water. And the tool sank out of sight. The tool that I drove all the way up to Home Depot to buy, that and nothing else.
The water was only about three feet deep, but scummed over with algae and I was sure there was a nest of cottonmouth moccasins lurking down there. So, looking to see what tool I could possibly use for prying apart sections of vinyl, my eyes landed on the six-foot chisel bar, which is made to cut through roots when digging a trench. Sharp and heavy. Hmmm.
Good luck, bad luck—who knows? Yesterday’s aggravation left me with a tool at hand that made today’s work go five times faster.
I mean, it was a workout for me because of the weight of the thing, and awkward to use up a ladder. Still, when I drove that chisel bar underneath the siding and pried upward, three and four sections came loose in one motion. The bar also made easy work of the vinyl corner caps. I almost finished two more walls.
I only had one more panel to take down, when Bobby who’d been the steadfast trooper, watching out for me all afternoon, mostly keeping in the shade and cool grass underneath the trailer, came out for another trip down to the bank to lap up some cool branch water. When he finished drinking, he went to the trailer and this time jumped in the bed, and gave me the eye. Staring. “What?” I asked him. He whined. Gave a little yip. “Okay, okay, I’ll take a quick break.”
I sat on the trailer bed with him. That was it. He was not going to let me go back to work. He licked at my whiskers, reminding me we were not on anybody’s payroll or time clock. Bobby wanted me to knock off and take him for our sunset stroll. Now!
And it worked out great. I ran into an old friend, Bobby got to see his pals Bear and Gov, the sunset was spectacular. A stray beam found its way through a thunderhead to one dark cloud off to the side of the big cumulus bruiser, and higher in the sky. So the show was not at the horizon, it was one random cloud blazing against a backdrop of stormblue. All I could do was take a breath and shake my head.
Bobby looked over his shoulder. “See, what’d I tell you? Just stick with me and let the good story unfold.” Yes, oh my little Sufi wonder dog.