Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fulfillment

I had the most wonderful time today outside doing yard work! Really, I feel like a completely new person. What is it about being outside, working, that makes me feel so alive? I don't know if it's the sun, the fresh air, the environment, or what, but the contrast in my state of mind is *amazing.*

There is just something about this kind of day that truly fulfils me. It doesn't really matter what I am doing outside; today I was scooping dog poo out of the yard and trimming trees. I started out not really wanting to be out there doing that. But once the poop was cleaned up and I started snipping and sawing at my trees, I started to feel so happy and invigorated. I reached up high and bent down low, trimming off the small branches that hang low or detract from the shape I desire in the tree's form; I find such great pleasure in stepping back and admiring my handiwork. I planted those trees... all of them... nine years ago. They were tiny little sticks when I bought them from the nursery and artfully arranged them in my front yard. Now, they tower nearly as high as my two-story house. They were born in my mind and have been tended carefully over the years to shape them into my vision of "home." Every time I pull into my driveway and look at them, I smile. Every day when I pull open my front drapes, I am happy. In the summertime, their thick green foliage blocks my view of the street and the neighbors and I feel like I live in a secluded little place of my own. One of my trees has another gift for me; I open the window and the fragrance of sweet flowers entrances me. I stand in my living room and gaze at the gorgeous pink blossoms and remember how, in my childhood home many states away, I would look out my bedroom window into the front yard to see the same beauty. I'd lie on my back in the grass in the shade of the mimosa and look up at its pink-and-green splendor, the blue sky above, and wonder what my future held. When I look at my tree, I feel at home. I feel whole. I really love my trees. They aren't just 'things' to me. I love them.

So as I trimmed and tended today, I felt such joy. I decided to take off a rather large branch and it took me quite a bit of effort to saw it off because of the angle at which is was growing; my blood was pumping, I was breathing hard. It was good exercise, and joyful. When I was finished, my arms were sore and I had a nice pile of branches at my feet and a healthy dose of sunshine in my heart.

I felt the same way when I hiked at the coast two years ago. I trudged through the forests and up into the hills; it was exhausting but wonderful. For me, nothing parallels the amazing sense of *being alive* that comes to me when I am working my body outdoors. Biking in the house is not the same; lifting weights isn't either. Both are fine exercise. But to benefit my very soul, I like to go out and rake, or shovel, or climb. Planting things, digging, reaching a destination... they feel like I am doing what I was *meant* to do.

I'd rather work than walk a treadmill; I'd rather lift rocks and branches that dumbbells. I'll do the latter, but I so prefer *real work.* I relish the sense of purpose and seeing the fruits of my labors.

Find joy in what you're doing. Life is just *amazing* when we live it. Plant something for your future and see what you can create with the power within you.

12 comments:

screwdestiny said...

You know, you can do with your body what you've done with those trees. You say how you have constantly given them care, shaped them how you want them to be, so that now they're perfect to you and they make you very happy. Imagine when you get your body exactly to how you want it to be, through healthy eating and exercise that you enjoy, and you can look at it and realize that all the work you put in was so worth it.

Weighting Around said...

you're so lucky, being able to work outdoors instead of in the gym. I would love to have a yard and garden I could tend but here in a condo - well, i don't think they gardeners would like me pitching in! So I'll stick with the gym. But keep up the good work! You must be so proud of yourself!

Hanlie said...

Wow, you sound content. I am finding the same thing right now - joy in doing stuff around the house and garden. I agree that actually doing stuff is much nicer than walking on a treadmill.

Kyle Gershman said...

Amen...when I hike and step up onto a rock I think this beats the heck out of step-ups at the gym. When I have to descend off a low wall, I think this bests the heck out of lunges at the gym. You clearly understand where I'm coming from.

Anonymous said...

I would far rather work very hard than work out any day of the week. I love my gardens, I even like fixing up my house (done now for the most part). Moving perennials beats lifting weights-- perhaps not from an exercise point of view, but I'm happy when I'm in my garden.

Alas, everything is frozen solid up here and there's no way I get to work outside (except shovel snow, IF we ever get some) for months yet.

Enjoy Lyn, I'm envious
Barb

Jenna said...

This gave me inspiration to *finally finish painting the nursery today. I have been putting it off for a week now.

I'm also glad to know that tree's will eventually grow.. i planted some baby shrubs in our front yard over the summer and i feel like they haven't grown at all!

midlife_swimmer said...

a workout outside beats any workout inside hands down!

I love even getting int an outdoor pool to swim during the summer here or a lake...but when I can swim in the ocean its bliss.

Miss Marvelous said...

I love this post, since it encapsulates how I've been feeling lately about spring coming.

BrendaKaye said...

I am so glad you were able to get outside! Some of us just need that sunshine and fresh air. Your post inspired me to get outside this month and get my crepe myrtles trimmed along with my knockout rose bushes. Last year I left the knockout bushes until late spring, and they are way harder to trim when the leaves grow back in all bushy.

M said...

Being outside and doing yard work is a great exercise! Time passes by so quickly too!

spunkysuzi said...

I agree i love exercising outdoors!! Time goes by so much quicker, which is never a bad thing :)

Tammy said...

I always get nervous when you don't post...hope you're ok. :)