Time On My Hands

I see by the date of my last post in July that many moons have passed since I posted. Indeed, the act of writing itself has become foreign to me while my hands were used to weed, water and plant seeds. The cultivated earth mistress that demanded most of my attention this year has finally been put to bed, all 5,000 square feet of her. I look at my hands beat up by countless days of cuts from the soil knife or spines off the squash vines, and can actually see clean fingernails as familiar calluses fade into the paleness of my skin.

For the first time in months, I have time on my hands and I find myself a bit lost. The house cries out for attention–closets full of items tossed in randomly for lack of space or safety from sharp kitten teeth, floors that need a good scrubbing to rid them of ground-in garden soil, receipts piled in a drawer with budgets long neglected, paintings and craft projects waiting to be finished before spring. (I could go on, but it’s too early in the day to start drinking.)

I look around in amazement and wonder what happened to that obsessive-compulsive overachieving minimalist who used to inhabit this body sitting here on another dreary mideast morning, the sun that I used to curse for heatstroke by midmorning in the summer, now nowhere to be seen. Wild birds huddle at the feeders outside my insulated windows and the nearly full-grown cat I rescued is squeezed into her favorite cardboard box that’s now three sizes too small for her.

Like a growing child who puts on last year’s winter clothes, I find that my old ways and concerns no longer fit me in this new life of organic gardening, rural living and community consciousness. I’ve learned so much beyond what not to plant next year, or how to manage when the power goes out. I’ve tested my physical limits and personal boundaries this year, and found out when to say no. I’ve become more of a realist and less of a dreamer, although my imagination is still sparked by the light glinting off of dewy spiderwebs and ice-encased red berries.

I’m back to long walks on the wild trails down by the river with my spouse, a patient man who has put up with my obsessions and depressions for over 30 years. Finally, we have the luxury of staying home on snow days without the guilt or grueling commute on dangerous roads. And because of the little community we live in, we can avoid the isolation that rural life often demands in the winter. Gathering together on cold, dark nights before solstice for food, music and laughter, or organizing a trip to the college town close by, are perfect anecdotes to the winter blues.

Meanwhile, there’s still some kale sleeping under its winter blanket, pale parsnips waiting to be harvested from frozen ground, and plenty of sweet potatoes to last us through the holidays. It’s been a good year and time to celebrate.

Maybe I’ll even paint my fingernails.

5 thoughts on “Time On My Hands

  1. It’s so good to see you here again and to be caught up a bit on your new self. I liked the old self, of course, but I know how important it is to shed that old skin sometimes, so I look forward to hearing more about your new self as you have the time on your now-manicured hands. I think you might have heard me hoot when I got to the part about how you could go on about your to-do-and-should-have-done list but it was too early to start drinking. I hope there’s a sip or two later in the day, though, as you savor the winter and catch your breath.

    1. Hi Maureen, and yes, catching my breath is a good way to put it. Although Christmas may not be the best time to relax, but we’ll see. The cat’s Xmas toys are already purchased so I”m way ahead of the game. I’m really going to try to post weekly for awhile. There, I typed that out so hopefully I’ll hold myself to it. Thanks as always for your support. I love reading about your new life and home as well!

  2. Faye

    Soooo good to catch up on your life. You have soooo much talent in soooo many areas! I hope you keep writing. Your photos inspired me to get out my ACIM book and dust off the cover. Many thanks.

    1. Great to see you here, Faye, and thanks for reading along. I’m honored that some of my photos inspired a revisit with A Course In Miracles. Might be time for me to delve into its wisdom, now that I have some time!

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