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This Wonderful Life

April 23, 2009

This Wonderful Life

Guess Where. Chicken Hair.

Because I neglected to rake the leaves from our gardens last autumn, raking became my first springtime chore.

On the very first warm, dry Saturday of the season, I started my day with a cup of strong coffee seasoned with vanilla soy milk, then headed outdoors to tackle the leaves.

I gathered my tools, including three different types of rakes and my beloved leaf blower, which I hold to be one of humankind’s great inventions.

Many times, I have wished there was a similar device for clearing cluttered indoor spaces.

As wonderful as it is, my leaf blower was of little use to me this time. I fired it up and aimed it at the brown leaves that spent the winter congealing underneath snow in the garden bed next to the front door. Instead of scattering the leaves, the blower launched vast flotillas of maple leaves that hovered momentarily before falling, or flapped a few feet then flopped to the ground.

Clearly, automation was not going to be an option, so I gloved up and grabbed a rake.

I started on the little ridge that runs the length of our yard just a few feet behind the house. Using a rake with a broad, plastic teeth, I gently combed the leaves down the slope, careful not to butcher the happy daffodils and little blades of gladiola leaves.

It is delicate work, raking autumn leaves in spring. It requires attention and care to remove what is dead without destroying what is trying to grow.

There’s some kind of metaphor in that, but I was too busy to explore it. As I pulled away the drab leaves, I exposed green, leathery myrtle leaves and the occasional electric yellow sprouts of plants that lacked the advantage of sunlight.

While I was busy with the garden beds, my amazing husband and a friend were sinking posts for a fence that will contain a pig this summer. Bee and Poesy joined me, each wielding a tiny rake and eager to help. By ``eager’’ I mean, of course, that they were both in love with the idea of gardening, but utterly bored by the dull work of cleaning out two seasons’ worth of detritus to reveal the spring seedlings. I can’t blame them, frankly.

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This Wonderful Life
  • This Wonderful Life: I can say No, but I prefer Yes If popular culture is any indication, it seems women suffer from an epidemic inability to refuse additional responsibilities. Magazines, self-help books and therapists nationwide offer heaps of advice on how to assert oneself, draw boundaries and generally say No when asked to sign on for those things for which we have little time and less interest.

    November 25, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: I wish someone had told me Disclaimer: Because my son more or less demanded that I stop using him and his life as material for my column back when he was 12 or 13, I want to make it perfectly clear to all my readers (and any legal professionals who are now retained or may be retained at some future time by aforementioned son) that this column is not about him. It’s about me. The fact that he happened to turn 21 on Saturday is mere coincidence. So help me God.

    November 19, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A view through bare branches Every morning, Bee and I stand at the end of the driveway waiting for her bus and we look up into the branches of the elm tree that arches over the drive.

    November 5, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: To Posey on her fourth So here we are, on the other side of 3-years-old, and it seems we both survived it intact. It wasn’t easy, but perhaps it made us both stronger.

    October 30, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A Posey by any other name... A few weeks ago, Posey gave us all new names. Or, to be more accurate, Posey gave us all one new name. Rose.

    October 8, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: Are pork chops really that good? If it seems unlikely for a vegetarian (that would be me) to own a couple of table- bound pigs, it probably seems downright absurd that their names should be Tender and Delicious.

    October 2, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: I sssssseeeeeee you there The first thing you should know is that I used to suffer from a snake phobia. The operative word there is phobia. It wasn’t just a matter of disliking snakes. It wasn’t a fear of being bitten. It wasn’t a simple reluctance to touch their impossibly dry, nimble bodies.

    September 24, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: What’s so funny? My kids, I hope In my experience as a three-time parent, there is something absolutely, spiritually magical about the first time your child cracks a joke.

    September 17, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: Who are these little girls? There are two children in my house who bear a striking resemblance to my daughters. They are adorable, smart and energetic.

    September 10, 2009

  • This Wonderful Life: A harvest that’s good for the soul Signs of harvest are all around. The afternoon sun glows amber over the fields and the farm stands are filled to overflowing with vegetables and fruit. We’re lucky to live in a place where we can have such an immediate connection to the food we eat.

    September 3, 2009