Of course, writing offers its own aches and pains, but they are psychic and tended to and appeased differently. I will say that outside jobs, as difficult and frustrating as they can sometimes be, offer up more readily applicable solutions. If, as was the case last week, the handle of my favorite splitting maul needed to be more tightly secured to the maul itself so when raised and thunked down on a waiting maple drum it would not dislodge and bean me on the noggin, the solution was simple. Go the shop and pound in another metal wedge.
If writing is not going well there is no simple or obvious solution. Well, actually there is: keep writing. That often works, if not producing anything worth sharing, at least it keeps the writing muscles active and somewhat flexed. I am looking forward to spending the winter wrestling with language and thought and trying to shape it all into another book. When the going gets tough I put on the kettle, stalk it while it heats up, grab it when it whistles, pour the water into the tea pot, cover it up, insulate it with the tea cozy, and then watch the birds at the feeder while it steeps. If there are cookies available they too become part of the retooling process. All this works some of the time. When it does, I feel great. When it does not, I usually berate myself silently for a few minutes, maybe hit the tea and cookies again, and either steep myself in a book or take a walk.
I suspect the greenhouse will never appear since deep down I really do want a break from all that stuff, as much as I love it. I did cover some late lettuce and spinach with plastic a month or so ago, but ultimately took it down realizing, as did the narrator in Robert Frost’s poem “After Apple-Picking,” that I had tired of the work I had so earnestly desired.