Truth is, I’ve led a pretty sedentary life. Physical work makes me nauseous and creates higher than desirable levels of anxiety – so I avoid it – always have! I teach, I read, I cook, eat, parent and socialise from a pretty static physical base.
So, why, on the eve of my 55th birthday have I suddenly found myself breathless, sweating, quivering and nauseous – elbow deep and exhilarated in potting mix and lavender??
It could be the twilight – it’s 835pm and the sun remains high in the sky. Perhaps it’s the inspiration from Roget , the near to ninety neighbour who stoops step by step to sweep his path well past sun down every night and pays me a gracious “Bon Nuit Madam” as I amble out to close the big gate. Maybe its an at last realization that stuff needs doing, and that sometimes it’s just me to do it. Maybe after 16 years in a mining town house I have just seen what comes with the pride of ownership and the joy of improvement. Maybe the “tick tick tick” to 55 has reminded me that there will soon be new work, different work . Perhaps that tiny echo “just two more forks full, Wendy” as I ached and trudged reminded me of that petulant little child who knew that pumpkin choked down meant the wonder of a single scoop of vanilla ice cream. However bad, it would be worth it!
No matter- the job is done. The implements were ancient – a pitch fork with roughly hewn handle worn down with the work of generations – and zinc pots , some used for preserving, some for laundry, some for water. Already the bees and butterflies weigh down the spindly stalks.
My hands are still shaking, there’s dirt under my nails … but I’m nearly 55, smiling like a child … and thirsty as ….