The Skinny Daily Post™

Short, daily essays on weight loss and fitness
from a really average woman who lost 100 lbs.
and works every day to keep it off.

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Sunday, March 23, 2003  

Revelation in the Garden

I can get pretty squirrelly on the weekends. Working on family books, on business books, trying to play catch-up with work, writing and planning The Skinny Daily Post. I'm a natural hermit, preferring to stay home, indoors, in my p.j.s if at all possible.

But this morning I forced myself to at least put on clothes and hit the yard to begin to deal with the leaves I neglected in the Fall.



My body actually works!

I mean, yes, I worked hard in my gardens last spring and summer, and was at the same weight then that I am now, but these hard and regular workouts, particularly, I think, the weight training over the winter have made a HUGE difference in how it feels to do hard work in the yard.

Oh. Huge.

I live in the woods, and the leaves come down heavily, creating a 1- to 3-inch thick matted wet blanket over all my gardens, about an acre's worth of gardens matted with leaves. I use a flick rake and my hands to pull these out from between tender shoots, trying hard not to hurt anything, and knowing that I have to move them ALL SOON, because those shoots are shooting, and fast. My babies need SUN.

So it's a lot of bending, stooping, reaching, lifting, and pulling. And raking. A lot of trips deeper into the woods with a huge and heavy wheelbarrow loaded with wet leaves.

But my 42-year-old body worked wonderfully today. I could feel my new abs curling in with each stroke of the rake, my new deltoids and triceps making easy and short work of each stroke. My newly flexible legs and back had no problem lifting armful after armful of leaves into the wheelbarrow, and the wheelbarrow itself no longer feels clumsily huge. I felt tough, strong, graceful.

I'm a gardening ANIMAL! A panther with a rake! A gazelle with pruning shears! (I mean, if panthers and gazelles had opposable thumbs...)

The feeling I used to have this time of year, and in the Fall, was one of panicked hopelessness. I considered condominium living, and tried to think of ways to talk my dear husband into apartment life. I used to fret and worry about getting it all done. And I spent a lot of our income hiring expensive labor to help move the leaves, move the snow, trim, lift, cope with maintaining, barely, our property. I wheezed and ached and blistered and hurt from head to toe. I resisted the work, procrastinated, weasled out of it whenever I could. I've been overwhelmed by home and yard care my whole life. But today I'm more fit than I have ever been, as fit as I should have always been, and today I found a use for these new muscles.

I couldn't be more surprised or more tickled. I'm tickled silly.

Today, right this minute, I feel as if I can maintain my own home myself. I'm strong enough to be a good caretaker. That may seem like a small thing, but for me it's huge. HUGE. I feel independent again, and like a good steward of my land. I stood for a few minutes, after carrying the Adirondak chairs out of storage to their spot near our stream, and felt the sun on my shoulders, and made plans for still more gardens.

Strong, capable, able, tough, even. Rippley! I'm very nearly sure some muscle somewhere rippled today. I'm almost practically positive. You'll just have to take my word for it.

Ah! I HAVE to pay bills and work on taxes now, but the sun is STILL shining, and I want to prune things, move more leaves, clean out the pond, build a new patio, re-surface the driveway.

So…. It turns out there may be a use for all those muscles you're building. There's a delightful reward for increasing your endurance. Can you imagine a day when hard work would feel great, and like something you can't wait to do again? Is there something you can imagine liking to do, but don't do easily now. Something you could do if you had more energy and strength? Put that ahead of you as the carrot (or preferably a lower glycemic vegetable) at the end of your stick. Make that your goal.

I wish you the strength to find that strength, because it's a rush, babies,


My favorite gardening site
What I'm going to do next with my new muscles
NOT me, but how I FELT today

posted by Julie |
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