Yesterday I mowed the lawn and got my flower beds prepped. Today I got my annuals planted. The frenetic I-must-accomplish-something-tangible drive that I experience these days demands that the outside of the house look good. When I was still married, I didn’t care as much. I mean, I cared, but what didn’t get done didn’t get done. Now I’m paranoid; I’m convinced that if the grass gets too high or my flower beds remain neglected for too long, the entire neighborhood will be gossiping about how I just can’t keep it together without a man. How pitiful is that?
It’s even sillier when you consider that where I live, you’re lucky if you know your neighbors’ names. Winter lasts… oh… about 8 months of the year, here. So folks aren’t out and about all that much except in the summer, and even then a lot of people kind of stay to themselves. Given how few people I actually know in this neighborhood, surmising that my landscaping is even a blip on the radar is probably the height of narcissism.
Anyway. Back to my flowers. I planted. I mulched. I watered. I repositioned the resin turtle band figurines which my children picked out last year because all those huge flowers weren’t enough decoration, apparently. I got all dirty and sweaty and smelly after a while, which was of course when the oil delivery guy and the cute UPS guy showed up. Oh well. When it was all done I came inside and cleaned up and gave myself a little mental pat on the back for Getting Something Done (the main goal of my life these days).
While I was out there working in the dirt, I felt very calm and happy and zen-like. Well, inbetween swatting at bugs, I did. My mind emptied… I thought mostly about the task(s) at hand… the feeling of sinking my hands into the cold soil on such a warm day… wondering what the heck that flowering tree at the front of my lot is that smells so good… methodically picking out rocks for one pile and carefully returning earthworms to the soil in an undisturbed corner…. I wasn’t inside for two minutes before I started obsessing over every to-do list and annoying bit of minutiae I need to attend to. I don’t get it. What is it about having dirt imbedded under your fingernails and mosquitoes in your hair that makes you more mellow? Do you suppose that if I just stopped showering I could maximize these effects?