Monday, March 14, 2011

Woman Vs. Nature

The weather was stunningly beautiful in Georgia this weekend.  It's that time of year here when the mornings and evenings are cool enough where you wish you had an extra layer when you go to your friends house for a cookout.  The days are warm in the sun, cool in the shade, and the pollen isn't so thick that you feel like you're breathing through cheesecloth. That time will come...soon.  For weeks in the spring, and a few weeks in the fall, my husband and I quell our "Atlanta sucks" grumbles and enjoy weekends like this one. 

After a couple hours of pick-up soccer with our regular Saturday crew, my body ached a bit, yet somehow because of the blissfully sunny, temperate day, I was motivated to do yard work.  I have an odd relationship to yard work, not unlike my relationship to running, I suppose.  I feel good and satisfied when it's over, but I don't really enjoy myself while I'm doing it.  I so want to be the person whose soul is deeply satisfied by digging in rich soil, pulling weeds, mowing lawns, raking leaves.  I want to love nature and feel in harmony with it, not at war, as I often do when I'm bagging endless piles of leaves.  On paper, I should really enjoy yardwork:  I'm a self-confessed tough-girl, love the outdoors, hiking, etc.  I grew up in the country (that is now more suburb than woodlands, but that's another story) running around barefooted in creeks and leafpiles.  I love sports and physical exercise, but doggone if working in the yard doesn't just make me feel itchy and sweaty.  My husband would be the first to attest at my absolute prissy attitude toward anything resembling outdoor chores.  I huff and puff with the lawnmower cutting uneven rows, grumbling about how sweaty I'm getting.  I hate getting scrapes and burns from pulling underbrush and thistles.  My back aches after planting flowers.  Bagging leaves, the chore which I so heroically took on Saturday, is a total drag.  But, determined to conquer my bad attitude, I marched up the hill like the Grand Old Duke of York, hoping and praying Jeff would see my self-sacrifice and be impressed with my valor.  Trying to look muscly and tough, my workrate was really quite paltry. I think I filled 5 or 6 bags, but not without knocking them over, bending the sides with the rake so the big bundle you have squeezed between rake surface and (elbow-length gloved) hand goes careening over the side of the toddling bag and back to the ground.  Boo. 

I hope I will grow to appreciate tilling the soil and working the land.  It's quite Biblical (like as in, God cursed Adam with the duty after he ate the dadgum apple and blamed Eve).  But perhaps I need a few more years of wisdom.  I think of my grandparents and how Grandpa Evan would spend hours chopping logs.  He built up a woodpile the size of a school bus and he must've figured axe therapy was a hell of a lot cheaper than paying a shrink. AND, you could have endless hours of warmth in the hearth. My Oma in Michigan had a cherry tree in her back yard that she would tend to and yield gorgeous fruit from. She took pride in her beautiful rosebushes that lined the fence.  Yes I hope for that patient wisdom that desires to garden, with all it's joys and frustrations.  But for now, I just have to confess that this prissy missy would MUCH rather be playing soccer on Saturdays than getting pesky dirt under my fingernails.

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