April 24, 2017

24 04 2017

It was lovely yesterday, and I got out and worked in the yard. I’m paying for it in sore muscles. I have to remember that I am not thirty anymore. Yet it was so satisfying.

I was mad to tackle the second raised bed. The irregularity in the way the concrete blocks had been seated—the ex’s “close enough” attitude—has annoyed me for years. So I pulled them out, pulled up the post (the support for trellises for peas and beans), dug out all the grass that had grown in through the gap, then reseated them properly and symmetrically, good and tight. Then I got the sledgehammer and pounded the metal post back in. The end result was immensely satisfying.

Jen came out while I was in the middle of it and said, “You ought to get the boys to do that.” I made excuses. The truth was, I wanted to do it myself. I may not be thirty anymore, but damn, I’m a good healthy sixty. See? And it was yet another bit of the ex’s legacy chipped away.

I want to fix the asparagus bed, too. The sides need to be built up. I was going to use concrete blocks, but then I noticed the timbers leaning against the house, set aside for some building project he never got around to. I thought, No, better save them.

For what? There is no one here who has any inclination towards building projects. That wood will stay there until it rots. What a waste that would be. I could use them now.

This is my house. I don’t have anyone to answer to but myself. Sure, I always consider the kids’ feelings and wishes, but ultimately the buck stops here. The twenty-six years of automatic deferral is over. If I want to do something, I can have at it.

So today I am going to haul down those timbers and cut them to length to raise the asparagus bed. My body is going to scream in protest. Never mind. I can do this. The pain will be temporary. The end result, while not permanent (remember; nothing is permanent), will nonetheless last a good while and will be immensely satisfying.




5 responses

24 04 2017

That sounds like a very, very good day! And what a relief of a realisation, to be able to do as you please! Happy Gardening!

24 04 2017
Laura Fry

Mel this struck such a chord! I am now in the partnered bucket, and do give over tasks to other folks in the house (not necessarily more abled, but, heck, I do a ton around here). But when I first had this house built, I got two wonderful gifts: A woman, since died from lung cancer, and one who raised her kids single, gave me a power drill for Christmas. Another friend gave me a mega Swiss Army Knife. I cherished those gifts for years – the drill died but the knife is my hiking companion. The empowerment that they were bestowing on me was not something I had known, and I used that drill often and happily: a symbol if my ability to be able to survive on my own, with small kids. I’m glad I met my current spouse only after I was very comfortable being the doyenne of my own castle. It’s very powerful, this, and not to be sneezed at in the least. I’m occasionally nostalgic but one never knows when that moment might be upon one again, and I can dig into that woman of 2002!

25 04 2017

It is so easy to confuse our genuine dependence on others, our emotional need for other people as well as the social cooperation that enriches our lives, with artificial dependence. When we surrender our ability to function as strong, capable people (as so many women are taught to do–“Let a man do that for you”–we diminish ourselves.

24 04 2017
Paul Sunstone

Charming post! I used to work with my best friend, Don, at building decks. Since neither Don nor I talk more than necessary while working, we’d spend considerable time each day in silence. Some days building felt pretty close to a walking meditation.

25 04 2017

I definitely see physical labor, such as hiking or working in a garden, as a kind of meditation. Certainly it takes one out of the mundane drama of the greater world and focuses the mind on something simple, small accomplishments, a different, manageable, reality.

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