My Old Man Hands and Other Beautiful Things

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I’ve always enjoyed being outside.  The sun on my back, the earth between my fingers, the reward of seeing the budding shoots of a new plant taking off.  Every day I’m out there pulling weeds, tying plants to stakes, composting, sprinkling ground-up egg shells around my tomato plants.  Talking to my carrots.  (Are you in there?  Or are you just a weed?)  

Mulching, checking for bugs, watering, checking for blight.

I catch sight of my hands these days, pulling weeds, reaching for Benji or Ellie, and I don’t recognize them.  They’re a worker’s hands.  

Gone are the smooth pale fingers of my youth, where I wrote or typed or shuffled papers all day.

I’ve got old man hands now.  Callused from digging in the dirt, strong rope-like veins in my forearms from carrying around two babies, 40 pound bags of compost or soil from the truck to the garden.  

And I love it.  You couldn’t smoosh me back into a cubicle now if you tried.  I’m too big with the wind of the 200 foot pines in my ears and the whole earth beneath my giant feet.

It’s been warm enough to play outside but not so hot we’re melting.  March and April are the perfect months to visit Texas.  It’s rainy, sure, but the mosquitoes aren’t bad yet and the sun won’t fry you like an egg in 22 seconds.

Benji is finally old enough for me to have him in the garden and only have to keep one eye on him while I putter about.  He’s got his own dirt pile to play in and he’s learning to walk between the rows.  I may have had to sacrifice a few plants in the process but I want him to enjoy being outside with me.  

I wanted to raise kids who love nature, who know her well so when they grow up they’ll help protect her too.  We’ve got one planet and we all share it together people.

Turns out I didn’t need to worry.  Except for trips to the grocery store and eating we’ve pretty much been outside all day, every day for the last two weeks.  Getting them back inside has been the problem.  I literally have to drag Benji inside kicking and screaming when it’s time for naps or a diaper change.  

Kid is in touch with nature AND his natural baby rage that’s for sure.  

And that’s another beautiful thing.  Not the baby rage, no that’s super annoying but once he starts to talk more that will subside.  I assume…  

No, it’s because it’s peaceful out here, and calming.  There’s something about walking under the trees, even just kneeling in the garden pulling weeds that works healing on a persons soul.  Just, being out here will calm Benji down if he’s upset, pretty much instantly.  Better than Tylenol.  

I can see it in me, in my kids, and even in Bill’s sister Laurie who is staying with us for another few days.  Even Jichaan.  I see them sitting out there on the patio, looking out at the back yard, soaking up this…magic that is creation.

Anyway.  I wanted to share some beautiful things this weekend, something that has helped give my life meaning and purpose and peace.  

“I like gardening.  It’s a place where I find myself when I need to lose myself.”  Alice Sebold.

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