Perfect Moment: Weeding the Side Stairs

I was sad to learn that Lori’s Perfect Moments is going on hiatus. I totally get why. It’s just, I love the exercise. And, appropriately enough, I finally had the first one in weeks today. So I had to get this one in under the wire…

Yard work and I have a love/hate relationship. Growing up, my Dad assigned me many chores in the yard. We had a pretty large lot, with both a front yard and a back yard dominated by enormous trees. The tree in the back yard shed some kind of debris 365 days a year. Mainly though, it would lose all its thousands of leaves in the fall, sprout many weird fuzzy caterpillar oddities in March, shed those in April, then grow the thousands of leaves back in May. I was in charge of sweeping, bagging and disposing of all this material, a task worthy of a Greek myth. I detested that tree. I had fantasies about chopping that jerk down for firewood. I wish I knew what kind of tree it was.

We spent much of today gardening: planting tomatoes, a lemon tree, repotting some flowers. You know, the fun stuff. Everything looked so pretty and tidy that our side steps began to really bug me. Our pebble-studded dirt side steps go to an unused hillside that I have big plans for someday: it’s a bucolic spot perfect for raised vegetable beds, a chicken coop, a treehouse for the kids. That hillside is raw potential. And the steps had become overgrown with weeds, leaves and grasses. It didn’t seem right, and I decided after I put the kids down for their naps that I would tend to those steps.

It was not fun or glamorous to pull countless green and brown matter from the stepping stones, but there was something peaceful and still about the activity that put my mind at ease. I focused on clearing inches, then feet of dirt free from the ravages of nature. Soon the full eight stairs were finished and I was inordinately proud.

I showed Darcy, who was impressed. At the time, I thought it was the zen-like pattern of activity which pleased my brain so much, and I’m sure that is part of it. But the “Perfect Moment” came when I realized this: clearing those steps was a metaphor. By showing myself I could do something tedious and hard, I was able to understand that if I get through the dull tasks with pleasure, with pride, I’ll reach my raw potential, that hillside full of possibilities.

Like Yoda said: “Do or do not. There is no try.”

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5 Comments

Filed under Discovering joy

5 responses to “Perfect Moment: Weeding the Side Stairs

  1. Wonderful perfect moment!

  2. This was a much needed gift. I am almost overwhelmed almost to the point of paralysis by the task I’ve created for myself. It’s as if you repeated what was going on inside my head. No matter how many miles, “one inch” is do.
    I’d hug you if you were just a liiiiiittle bit closer. t

  3. Oh how I love this. Like you, I dislike yardwork. But also like you, I love the sense of accomplishment I feel emotionally, and even the fatigue I feel physically, when I can see the results of my labor.

    You’ve almost inspired me to go clear out some of our weeds!

    I said “almost.” I reserve the right to sit here on the couch and comment 🙂

    And I’m glad you made it in under the wire!

  4. Love this. There’s something so pleasing about weeding … not the task itself, but the small steps and the larger accomplishment at the end. 🙂

  5. We don’t have a yard (as you know!) but I’ve helped my mom in hers from time to time. There is something incredibly satisfying about working outside and seeing the fruits of your labor when you’re finished. I’m so glad you had such a great and fulfilling day! Yay!

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