Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Why You Do the Things You Do

I'm home just a half hour before dark, but its the best half hour of the day, now that the wind has diminished and the streets of Tarkio are busy with moms and babies in strollers and little children wearing their brand new flip flops. The grass has greened but remains in that limbo state between spring and mowing. There's not really any time to embark on a major project, so I take down one of the garden flags. It happens to be the fall flag....I boycotted celebrating winter after last year, but now the spring flag with butterflies and hyacinths gently lifts a corner on the settling evening breeze. It is so dry that the garden debris I lift into the back of the pickup is light and fluffy; I'll knit in some willow branches to keep the whole mess in one piece until I get out to the farm. This isn't real work; it is an opportunity to exhale and step lightly and stroll slowly watching the pearly evening light fade away from the sycamore heights.

Work happened for enough hours today. Work isn't really the burden; worry is. While I lie awake at night worrying about bugs, a chronic and not irrational concern, bigger troubles await, unbeknownst. The current mantra; "it is what it is" is nothing if not insufficient and "its always something" can hardly be described as more positive or specific. Ah, yes, it is only flowers; how serious can one be? How on earth can one get wrapped up in psychic angst about things as ephemeral and giddy as the lilies of the field? Can a person whose work a day routine could be described as pick em up, set em down, move em here, roll em there and finally, don't let em die, really be taken seriously when feet grow fungus, necks get burnt, shoulders ache and insomnia lurks? To quote Jerry Jeff, 'why do they rope for their money?'

I have purposefully chosen pictures of the kids when they were younger to accentuate the wonder I feel about their existence at all. Captured in an eyeblink of the shutter, they are still instantly recognizable and immediately charming. Ann appeared late this afternoon with Aaron and Josh in tow, ready to pick up Lizzie. Lizzie and Abbie and Gabe were at "work" with Lee and me down in the dirt shed. Abbie and Lizzie had taken their turns putting trays on the conveyor. Gabe, topped with John Deere green, took charge of the wheel stock, manning the skid steer, the golf cart and the immovable 4 wheeler in succession. Aaron and Gabe stacked two by two cardboard Ball plant boxes. Lizzie filled a dozen pots with rocks.

And Josh smiled, blissfully, with slobber dripping from his fist. He is little, but he knows he has me as long as he smiles.

It may be I work for less than the proverbial peanuts (though a well timed Snickers ice cream bar is good incentive); it may be I "rope" for the past smiles of children now grown and the present rewards of grins as toothless as Josh and Aaron's and as irrepressible as giggles of the soon to be four year olds.

'If I have faith to move mountains, and have not love, I am nothing.'

Memo to self: there are days I feel like nothing, I accomplish little, or perhaps I actively make things worse. But.....look above. I do have love.

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