"To forget how to dig the earth and to tend the soil is to forget ourselves."
A work in progress.
That's how you could describe this stretch of landscaping in our backyard as I am currently in the process of digging up the monkey grass that grows here along the fence.
Now that spring has more or less taken hold in my neck of the woods and now that my spring fever is off the charts(!!), I'm hoping to implement some of the garden ideas that I have curated over the winter. Namely a place for sun-loving flowers such as dahlias, zinnias, and daisies (oh my!). And this patch of earth along the driveway will be, I hope, a perfect spot.
Before I can get to any of the fun stuff though, first I have to get this monkey grass out. It was planted here by the previous owner so it is very well established. But it's not really in the budget to hire it done (we have a front porch in dire need of repair so it has become our top priority), so that's why I am taking it on myself. It's not terribly hard, but it is time-consuming. And dirty.
The truth is that I actually don't mind it.
I saw something recently that said something along the lines of 'working with your hands is the best antidote for being stressed in your head'. I can totally testify to that. I have found that working hard in the garden is quite gratifying (spoken as someone who sits on her butt in a cushy office all day at work). Fore me, there is great satisfaction in actually building or creating something. To have a personal, physical stake in the project.
The other thing about this project is that I am working on it in stages...this stretch along the driveway is about 35 feet long. I hack away at it (literally) a little every day or so. An hour here, an hour there...usually in the evening...until last light. I start by stomping the shovel into soil and heaving up a giant clump of roots. Then I use a pitchfork to help separate the clumps into smaller sections. Eventually the roots will untangle and come free.
Repeat as necessary.
Laborious. Dirty. Time-consuming. Yeah...not exactly the kind of projects that you're going to see go viral on Pinterest. Or found on popular decorating shows on HGTV.
I was thinking about this while digging away one evening last week. How it seems like our image-driven culture is quick to celebrate the end result, but really doesn't have much interest in or the patience for the work that is in progress. The not-quite-there yet. The in-between stages. Which is sad I think because that is where the progress is made. That is where the lessons are learned.
Whether it's improving an area of your backyard or improving your life, I think the same principles apply. And that is, there is an immense amount of dignity in just showing up and doing the work. Day after day. Enduring scrapes and the scratches and the dirty fingernails and the sore back. Chipping away at those things that keep us from the end goal that we are working towards. Making progress towards all things beautiful and positive and inspired and life-affirming.
It's not pretty. And it's not popular. But this is the work that I want to continue. Because much like my garden, I am a giant, messy work in progress.
Until next time,