on future beautification

9/4/13



"His only luxury was even simpler: a house by the sea two leagues from his offices, furnished only with six handmade stools, a stand for earthenware jars, and a hammock on the terrace where he could lie down and think on Sundays. No one described him better than he did when someone accused him of being rich. 'No, not rich,' he said, 'I am a poor man with money, which is not the same thing.'" 

(Gabriel Garcia Marquiz, Love in the Time of Cholera)

--

There we stood; ankle deep in mulch, shoveling, shoveling, shoveling as the bright sun beat down on our shoulders. I looked up at Zack, leaning heavily on my spade, and when our eyes met, I pathetically admitted, "I'm just not built for manual labor, love."
Which is mostly true and only (sometimes) embarrassing.

Lately, I've been marveling how digging up dead growth, no matter how lovely it can look back-lit by summer sun,  can feel more like a blessing than anything I've ever known before. How a day spent doing something you aren't skilled at can leave you feeling vulnerable, humbled in the healthiest of ways.

I've been thinking of death and rebirth. Death and rebirth and a hundred other heavy things. Things so heavy I feel worn thin just typing them out.

But mostly, I am thankful to see this beautiful season change from something bright to something golden. Shifting light to dark. I am taking it all in. The air. The sky. The sunlight. And how much sadness there can be in new starts. As if something blurry was lost--caught in your peripheral vision, nameless. Its hard walking away, but you trod on, season by season, looking ahead and not back at the unnameable.

We spent labor day in the dirt, destroying our yard for the sake of future beautification. We hacked at gnarled rhododendron and dug the weeds up by their roots. The house feels a little exposed, her foundation no longer protected by the dead growth and fallen leaves of years gone by. But she is healthier for it, I think. Better able to face the heavy months ahead.  

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