As my wife languishes in the piles of snow in Baltimore while she visits her daughter and son-in-law who had a new baby last week, I am taking advantage of the sunshine and 72º temps to catch up on yard work. Two days ago I fired up the chain saw to carve more out of the stubborn thicket in the south pasture next to Barky’s mom’s house. Today was branch-dragging day, and I spent more than an hour lugging one double-armload after another the hundred yards to Dorothy’s brush pile. I could have hitched up the trailer to the riding mower, but the point of that eluded me. It would be like those people who pay for a gym membership, but also pay some kid to cut their grass. I toted the peach and apple and elm and pine branches at as fast a walk as the load and the terrain would allow, to get my heart pumping and my muscles moving. It felt great, particularly since I was both exercising and getting something done.
This is the January warm-up that seems to come along every year. I don’t know if that’s a measurable meteorological phenomenon or just my impression of how Januaries go. But this one is on its way out, since there is snow forecast for next week.
I came inside a few minutes ago drenched in sweat and covered in scratches, particularly in my knee pits. I don’t feel like I’m doing yard work right if I don’t have at least one cut or scratch. I showered with some margarita flavored shampoo that Abby was going to throw out. It smelled like a margarita, but also a little like throw-up.
“The winter here is cold and bitter. It’s chilled us to the bone. We haven’t seen the sun for weeks. Too long too far from home.” -Sarah McLaughlin, Full of Grace, which shuffle played on my iTunes as I wrote this.