Monday, June 5, 2017

How the garden grows

God's timing is grace. After getting through a school season (awaiting review now) and getting my sister closer to (my) home so I can visit her, I'm still figuring out how to add new responsibilities into the same 24 hours I had before. The years here always had a rhythm, and sometimes it took a little bit to remember how it went. How to manage a grass cut, mulching, weeding on top of the inside house chores, the errands, and, delightfully, the guests.

Now it's full on green season. The mulch is delivered. House beds weeded and mulched! Half the rock garden weeded, and more to do. And the front garden? I pulled a quadrant yesterday, another today--and today I had a little help.

I don't know why suddenly my body feels so old. This garden is kicking me down this year. This year was a first consideration that maybe I've bitten off more than I can chew. And the thought of how will I keep up in ten years ... fifteen ... twenty ... ten to twelve yards of mulch to move is a big job for anyone. I press on.

One day recently I was hot and sweaty, body achy and so thirsty. No one came to check on me for the several hours I was out. A different day, I enlisted Erin to come help me with the pool garden beds.

"It's hot!" she said. And,

"The bugs are bothering me!"

"I'm so thirsty!"

"Well, it's got to get done," I said. "And complaining isn't going to make it go any faster or feel any better."

"Why do you do this?" she asked. I think she'd let the gardens go to weeds.

"Because even though it's really hard work, it's really beautiful when it's done. And I like beauty," I explained. And truly, I'm learning to like dirt under my nails.

One thing the day taught her was compassion. I told her the bugs and heat and aches bothered me too, but the job had to get done. I told her I got thirsty too, and what a blessing it is to be remembered with a cold drink.

This summer, to a mix of their delight and dismay, I instituted the kids' summer chore bowl filled with tasks like weeding around the playset, an hour weeding in the big garden, watering the potted plants and flowers around the house, sweeping out garage and patio, etc. Each morning, the kids pick their task. Today was the first day. Oh! The dread of pulling the card and getting dish duty!

Lanie got the job of weeding around the playset, to which she told me there was a spider there that looked like it would kill a man, and that a harassing bee kept trying to sting her. "Do I have to do the whole area?"

"Yes," I said. I know coming weeks won't be nearly as much work as this first one.

Erin was tasked with weeding in the front garden with me for an hour.

"Has it been an hour yet?" she asked.

"No."

I heard about her body aches and how long it was taking--that this hour was impossibly long! Forty minutes into it, I pulled out clippers to cut back the tree suckers, and she asked to help.

"Weeding isn't so bad when I'm with you," she said. And later, "I hope the hour isn't up soon. I like this part!"

I told her when her hour was up.

"Would you like a drink?" she asked.

I smiled, thankful for her camaraderie and compassion. Oh, there is still so much to do--more weeds to pull and mulch to throw down. But it was probably one of the best hours of the day.


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