When asked about our new house, among other details, I always say, "it’s a quiet neighborhood." Actually, most days this summer it has been quite bustling, vibrant with activity: children playing, cats howling, people walking their dogs, mowing their lawns, gardening. Today, however, it is raining. Not pouring, just a slow and steady drum, a constant presence. It will continue to rain all day and through the night, no doubt about it. And today, our neighborhood is truly quiet. All the people have melted into their own cozy shelters. The wild creatures relax a bit, and tentatively blurring the edges of our world and theirs, step forth. I love seeing the doe with her fawn, the coyote, the woodchucks, the cottontails. They are always welcome in our yard, always cause for excitement.
But I miss the weeding. What a funny thing to say, hard to imagine what might inspire such sentimentality for such a mundane chore. And yet... every day this past week, I've weeded for 30-45 minutes. This was not the vigorous cardio variety of yard work that I did last Friday. No, although that is certainly satisfying as well, producing more dramatic and appreciable results both in the gardens and in the self, in the form of good, honest sweat. This weeding has been much calmer, contemplative, even sedate. Our back yard has large ivy beds wending along the north side of the property, and also along the back under the Norway spruces and paper birch that provide such lovely screening, a gateway to our woods.
Previous owners have neglected the yard in general, and it contains a blank canvas of possibilities. We like the ivy, a pleasing mix of English ivy and periwinkle. But the lawn seems to like it as well, and tall grass is merrily encroaching into the ivy, feeling out the potential for conversion. This proselytizing must be stopped at all costs. And so I've parked myself cross-legged, tracing each invading grass blade back to its base, taking care to extract only the intruder and not the ivy it winds amongst. A mindful activity, with slow progress. I've limited the daily duration of the weeding, due in part to the slope of the yard, as it tires the back. But today the rains have come, slow and steady, and yes, I miss the weeding.