i dedicated the entire weekend to intensive manual labor at judy branch. and i enjoyed every bit of it, from pulling up thorny pigweed in the garden to washing out the compost bins. there's something immensely satisfying about tending to the homeplace.
sometimes it seems like there's a riotous game of marbles going on in my head. ideas and counter-arguments to those ideas roll around and knock each other about in all sorts of directions until they all lay scattered in a mess or none remain at all. this can make those big life decisions very difficult. i remember growing up in church and the story of doubting thomas. boy, did i ever relate to that guy! fortunately, through many years of experinence and the help of some wise native american and buddhist friends, i have grown about 89% at ease with not knowing anything at all when it comes to those BIG questions. if i manage to remember that i am okay with just not knowing, i can keep my mind somewhat serene with only one or two major moments of panic and doubt (that would be the marble games) each day.
work in the garden and around the house provides me with an escape from the maddening marble games, the big unknowns and my life's other work. problem: there's a big section of johnny grass and pig weed invading my garden. solution: get my garden gloves on, get down on my knees and pull those suckers up by the root. then, when that task is done, great possiblilites lay at my feet. time to hoe that freshly uncovered dirt and plant fall crops! turnips, spinach, greens, mescalin mix, broccoli, kale, chard, carrots, cilantro and more beets! when i rise to my feet after planting and turn around, i see the fruits of my spring planting. the last of the beans (i hope!) need picking. the okra just keeps producing more tender fruit, and the tomatos are about to fall off the vine. basil is still big and bushy, and the dll needs to be used soon before it turns yellow. and those beets are just waiting patiently to become borscht!
there are only a few moments in my garden work that i feel down. sometimes when i'm pulling up weeds, especially if i have to pull up milkweed, i feel like i am no different than those greedy bastards who clear cut virgin timber and rainforests. i certainly must seem like a monster to all the slugs, mushrooms, wooly worms and caterpillars whose shade and food i uproot! mainly it's the milkweed that makes me feel this guilt. so, i make sure to let a good crop of milkweek border my garden, and i even pull up the morning glory vines that try to pull them down. in this way, i can at least be a somewhat sustainable garden forester through selective logging/weeding!