When we were first married, new homeowners, there was the long list of requisite tools and hardware. One by one, we assembled hammer, pry bar, shovel, pipe wrench, level, drill, rake.
I remember specifically getting the rake. I had a choice between the 5-year rake, the 10-year rake, and the 25-year rake. Apparently, rakes and their family of garden instruments are rated according to how long they’re expected to endure. Instead of horsepower or speed, you pay for longevity.
I went for 25 years, seduced by the solid yellow handle and the sturdy tines, but also by the immortality it promised. At the time, I thought that this was forever. In so many ways it was, because it was the extent of my own lifetime. The 25-year rake was a commitment into the future. It was a statement. It said that I was willing to pay more money on the gamble that I would still be raking the dirt in the garden of our home a quarter century (my entire lifetime’s duration to that point) into the future.
Today I was looking at that rake, grading out the gravel for the back patio. It’s the third property that this rake has worked upon. It twists a little to the left, and I can see that it’s looking into the horizon of its lifetime limit. And here we are, rake in hands, still pulling out stones and smoothing grades, even as specks of rust start to settle in.