It’s the time of year when I go to bed stiff and wake up sore. I find myself pausing, blinking in the sunlight, arm resting on my shovel, wondering why it is I do this year after year. My life is filled with weeds and aching muscles. Esoteric questions about life and living and the meaning of it all. Missed goals and unsatisfied dreams and hard work and not enough money and too much to fix. I curse the stubborn weeds that continue to thrive, compare myself to the birds who rebuild their nests year after year and the bees who collect pollen over and over, simply to sustain their survival.

But what else is there? Without life, we have nothing at all.

And so I grab hold of my shovel and dig into the dirt. I turn under last autumn’s leaves, the soil wriggles with shiny rainbow worms. The bluebirds moved into the house we set out for them in the field three years ago. Things take time, sometimes more than I’m willing to give, but I do, because what choice do I have? And the flowers I planted last fall are now blooming. And the trees my great-uncle planted need pruning, so we prune. And we move forward. And hopefully we learn, and hopefully we grow, and we keep working because there is joy in it. And hopefully, if we’re lucky, we get to do it all again next year. And I will curse it, and I will be grateful.





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