Tuesday, May 18, 2010

That lovely exhaustion

The last few days have been gloriously sunny and cool and I have taken that to mean that I should be outside from dawn to dusk working my fanny off in the gardens. I've been mulching and weeding and mulching some more, pruning the dead-wood from my overgrown rugosa, inspecting apple trees and berry bushes and praying over the cabbage and brussels sprouts that I feared had succumbed to last week's frost. The hauling of mulch and compost uses muscles that I haven't used over the winter, even though I maintain a fairly moderate level of activity and exercise and I can feel that deep achy feeling in my arms and legs. I have fallen asleep instantly when I hit the bed each night after spending the day in the gardens. It's a lovely feeling of tiredness that I don't get when I've been sitting and thinking all day long...not that I actually do much of that!
It seems like a total cliche to talk about how being outside in the warm sunshine and the cool air feels like a panacea for all the world's ills but...it really does. I don't think about the hideous oil spill in the gulf, the crashing economies of Europe, the war in the middle east or the fact that my dearie is unemployed and may be so for many months to come. I don't worry about the rising tax rates, the fall of the middle class or any of the other fifty nihilistic routes I could travel down. I think about whether the apples will make it to fall for a real harvest, whether I should put the tomatoes in this bed or..that one? Should I move the rugosa? Divide the iris? Trim the euyonomous back even further? Let this bed just go to pot and work on that one instead? And what about those adorable ducklings in the coop? Should they be moved to Chez Canard or leave them in Chez Poulet? Will they all be eaten by Mr. Fox or will we actually get some eggs and entertainment from them? I worry about the corn and the arugula and the pole beans. I worry about things that I actually have a modicum of control over, rather than these grand landscapes of anxiety that I cannot navigate. The economy. War. Environmental disaster. Etc.
I've taken enough college level psychology to understand that this is about my feeling a lack of control over, well, just about everything and the need for a sense of direction; a rudder during what is a particularly trying time in the life of this country and this family. I mean, I understand that this is not just about me but about the way western culture has shifted since 9/11. Still, the momentum that I've gained in taking over responsibility for our food and general food security has brought me to a new level of awareness with regard to what is going on in the world and helped me to keep trying to move forward. But, we are in the midst of big change. Big B, big C. And change is difficult and uncomfortable and messy. It could mean encountering tricky situations and the calling up of emotional and mental resources that one wasn't really aware one possessed. Or faking it if necessary. And all of that is beyond our, my, control. The garden and its inhabitants...now there is something that I can wrap my head around and maybe even control a little bit. And apparently it's good for sleeping too.

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