I mowed the grass and bagged all the clippings. I hesitated a moment — hadn’t enough labor been done for a day? — and then filled a bucket with water and dish soap, uncoiled the hose, and scrubbed the winter mildew and spring birdshit from the plastic Adirondack chairs.
Eventually, I went inside. At some point I looked out the kitchen window to visually touch base with the order I had restored, and I saw Lydia had spread a quilt out in the middle of the chair circle. There were books all around her.
She yelled, “Please bring me a camera!” I did.
I discovered her photos later: the math textbook and worksheets on the quilt, another with her feet against a backdrop of trees, and an oblique view of her arm and a bracelet.
Nothing lasts intact. The birds and mildew will find the chairs again; the grass will grow shaggy. Already, Lydia’s math final is over and done with. Still, I feel as though something has been accomplished.