Friday, June 15, 2007

In the yard

Right now, I'm hot and sweaty. My arms and shoulders are a little achy, and I can feel the stiffness settling into my lower back. Damn, it's been a great day! Seriously.

My house is surrounded by shrubbery. I'm inundated with bushes. Over 30 hollies that are roof high border the west side of my lawn. 12 more are at strategic corners in the beds that border the house. Then they're the azaleas, the nandinas (are they the ones with the scarlet leaves in winter?), some shrubs with little purple leaves, and the ones with the yellow and bright green leaves. (Does it show that I'm not really a gardener?) I also have a couple of snowball bushes, and though they're not shrubs, I can't forget the crape myrtles, because they need pruning too.

That's what I did today. Prune, trim, whack, cut and possibly butcher. All day. I started around nine this morning, took a short break about every hour and a half, and kept it up until about five. There's a sharp, fresh green scent all around my house now set off by the earthy, pungency of years of raked up leaves. It smells incredible, and considering how much I perspired today, I'm glad something does.

What made this a wonderful day was that I was able to do this! I could physically handle the work. I wasn't passing out in the ninety plus degree heat. Relatively low humidity definitely helped. I wasn't dizzy and gasping for breath. I definitely got my heart rate into workout target zone, but it only got to an uncomfortably galloping pace a time or two. By the Weight Watchers exercise guidelines, this was moderate exercise. (To sum these up, I could talk but didn't really want to and definitely couldn't sing.)

Did I mention that my yard looks much better now too? and that I really love electric hedge trimmers and saws? There's a stack of greenery at the street waiting to be hauled away that's waist high and about ten feet long. There are also several huge garbage bags full of trimmings. Damn, I wish I had a compost heap. Well, now that I'm up to physically working in the yard again, I just might have to add building one to my to do list. Who knows? I might just turn into a gardener after all.

My nose and cheeks are as red as cherries now. I'll be peeling by Sunday. Tomorrow, when I tackle the back yard, I'll remember the hat. I hope that I also remember that mind/spirit/body connection also flows in the opposite direction of what I'm used to. As I was out there sweating and clipping, feeling my arm and chest muscles work to compress the handles of the large pruning shears, my mind was spiraling.

It's easy to go too far when you're pruning, so I had to keep stepping back to look at the shape of the plants. I felt so powerful, shaping them as I wanted them to grow. I thought then of the image of God as a vintner, discarding the vines that didn't bear fruit. That then morphed into "God disciplines those He loves" which I could see in the simples shapes I was imposing on my shrubs. My immediate thought was that I want to grow wild. I realized that in the wild, there is a crueler discipline than pruning shears. s, earthquakes, floods all reshape the land. That was much harsher than I could handle, and I know that the Almighty doesn't impose Divine will on us with that whole gift of free will thing. Though I believe in Divine Justice as well as Divine Mercy, punishing doesn't fit in the picture. Somewhere, part of me was screaming, "Danger Will Robinson, Bad Theology Ahead!" So, I set those thoughts aside and just tried not to think, but to breathe in the air, feel the sweat run down my body and get my pruning in touch with the way that the plants wanted, even needed to grow.

Tonight, as the aches settle into my body and the endorphins slowly subside, I'm pondering Divine nature, thinking about discipline and desires, how God/dess interacts with us, what we really want from our Creator and what our Creator really wants from us. For the first time in weeks, I feel my Bible calling me, and I'm responding with desire, not a grudging sense of duty. It's truly been a wonderful day.

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Blogger Theresa Williams said...

This looks so much like what I went through a few days ago when I cleaned up my flower garden! You describe it so well. I'm so happy for you Cynthia.

June 15, 2007 11:47 PM  
Blogger Lisa :-] said...

Funny how, as you say, the mind gets going a mile-a-minute when you get absorbed in a physical project. Same thing happens to me. And, for some reason, gardening just opens my mind to all sorts of contemplation.

June 15, 2007 11:59 PM  
Blogger more cows than people said...

And what did you find in your Bible when you went with desire to it's pages?

Yes, indeed, it sounds like a wonderful day.

June 16, 2007 6:51 AM  
Blogger alphawoman said...

Wonderful writing.

June 16, 2007 5:07 PM  
Anonymous Barbara said...

Amazing and wonderful the many ways the Holy Spirit draws us back to the word and back to God.

June 16, 2007 5:30 PM  

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