☕️ Yard ‘Work’

A Saturday Caesura

It rained in pieces this week. Now the backyard has estuaries and shallow water ports for visiting mallards and blue-winged teals. I find something therapeutic in shedding my day job to slosh around in rubber boots, childlike. Even on grey, damp days I find a particular satisfaction in the labour of hands in dirt, the digging and planting and replanting, the work of the gardener.

I find a sense of place and belonging in knowing the trees and plants growing in my yard. I know exactly where to check for nubby fiddlehead crowns and the first of the lilies to probe for daylight. I train a wild gooseberry bush to grow along the range fence, espalier-style. I say hello to the oldest diamond willow, respectful of its aging bark and cracking limbs. Like many of the fast-growing short-living poplars in our yard, the willow is dying. They all need to be cut down and replaced. I know this, and know this process of growing and dying is the signature of a fallen creation, but I will miss these tree-friends when they go.

I dig up, relocate the lilies and a clump of sedum. I’ll eventually do the same with columbine, Jacob’s ladder, ligularia, hosta, lily-of-the-valley. The soil is heavy, saturated with downpours and drizzles; it drips raw earthy odours. Earthworms wriggle in the wake of the shovel. I cradle the plants in my hands, ease them into their new bed, and pray they thrive here.

I need them to live.

I spread compost, rebuild a small rock wall, clean my shovel, put the wheelbarrow away. It rains, again.

There is goodness in this work. It cultivates and nourishes contentment.

Some recent observations…

– lightning in the winter seems rather incongruent for some reason, but I can now vouch for its existence.

– seeing a mama moose kneeling on her front legs to lick a chunk of salty ice is quite hilarious. Gave a whole new meaning to “bums up.”

– having your car washed by moose tongues (mama and her twins) is quite… gross? unique? weird? Still processing that one.

– when the snow is up to a moose’s belly, snowshoes may be a better choice than cross-country skis. I love skiing, but that outing gave a new perspective on the concept of “breaking trail.”

– vegetables taste better than chocolates

– I never get as much done during Christmas break as I plan. I’ve learned to be okay with that.

– differences in age and stages of life are not impediments to rich times of sharing-laughing-rejoicing-crying with other women. So grateful for the young women in my life. And the older ones, too.

contentment is a profound and beautiful word