The garden has been worked and planted for the past three weeks. Thank goodness for the modern plow to get the rows laid out. I have cultivated each row, breaking up red clay, hitting the frequent fieldstone with my garden tools.
During this process, I have found myself thinking who needs the gym? Just try to cultivate red clay earth. This made me think about my Irish and Scottish ancestors, who cut through fieldstone as part of the gardening process to grow food. That thought led me to think about family members before me, that paved a way, that I watched do things like cook or plant a garden. I was thankful.
My neighbor sent a text asking if I would like some kale the other day. I was excited to cross through the woods with the dog and socially distance in her side yard. After the visit, I was on my way with a paper bag full of kale. I was thankful.
Many of the “break” activities I enjoy, regardless of COVID-19, have been experienced differently since sheltering in place. During walks, I notice the real beauty of the ferns, wildflowers and paw paw growing near a creek bank. I’ve enjoyed having coffee outdoors in my yard chair, while being grateful for the freedom to do that. I’ve picked up litter. Yes, other people’s litter, which is a different “letter from home,” Don’t get me started…
But to be able to do, to experience each of these activities — I was thankful.
One of our dogs, Lily, became ours from a rescue situation. Lily had been in the wild, and making a living off other dogs' food. From what we were told, she would take the occasional dip into a trash can looking for food. It’s from her trash can days that I believe she developed the enjoyment of chewing on paper. I walked into the bathroom the other night, and there lay Lily on the rug, chewing what looked like the end roll of toilet paper. I found myself panicked! When I pried it free from her mouth, it was only a sheet of Kleenex. Whew!
Then I remembered, we have toilet paper. I was thankful.
Working from home and homeschooling is no joke. The lack of being in the workplace and being at home leaves some, including myself, living in a zone of when does said work activity start, and then end? Then onto another subject, for another time segment of the same, and so forth.
In my experience, when I needed to address something with my work, my child was needing my help and was stuck. When I worked with her, teaching the subject at hand, I got behind in my office work. We both made progress, but it took us a couple of weeks to get the hang of completing both areas of required duties from home. This experience has given me a closer look into my child’s needs with schoolwork. I was thankful.
Three weeks ago when I went grocery shopping, everything was cleared out of the meat department with the exception of a couple of packs of bacon, hotdogs and, voila, young turkeys. I imagined that some nice delivery person for the grocery store left them because of the meat counter shortage or that the grocery store had them in deep freeze after Thanksgiving. Whatever the case, turkey sounded all right. Feed the family, the gustatory threshold for turkey had been reset after approximately five months post Thanksgiving. It was a win.
The turkey was prepped and cooked. From the stock and drippings, I made homemade turkey gravy. No Heinz in a jar, but bonafide, the real deal, turkey gravy. I happened to have Ocean Spray cranberry sauce and a pack of Stove Top stuffing. Maybe unseasonal for some, but we had just made it a Manwich night. I was glad to make meals out of anything we already had in the pantry, without going out. I was feeling good that the meal was well prepared. The first thing my child said was “Why are we having Thanksgiving at Easter?” I responded, because I’m thankful! I’m thankful for the garden, I’m thankful for nature, I’m thankful for my neighbors, I’m thankful for this turkey, I’m thankful for Easter. “We can have Thanksgiving on any calendar day of the year.” Be thankful.
The laughter and practical jokes have increased since there has been some space for each of us, yet time together. Day to day talking and upbeat jokes, gestures have increased. After being outside for a while this morning, I walked back in to find practical jokes around the house, with one including toilet and paper towel rolls used to make a face on the toilet. A note was left saying, “The toilet is smoking.” Brings a new meaning to potty humor. I laughed and was thankful. Gotta love that kid!
We load our life up to the point where it’s about to snap. Those demands are often the result of circumstances we cannot help with included variables. Some do it because we think it’s something we are supposed to do. However, when I was working in that garden, I thought that being “too busy” is not the truth. It’s not real. I don’t even think that it is culturally sound to say that it is American because I don’t think that our ancestors, forefathers, or even our great grandparents would prescribe it.
I am not happy at all about COVID-19. The common thread that I have heard in others and have my own awareness of, is that being made to slow down helps one to see things that they may have not noticed before. Real, truthful things. Be thankful, and never forget the gift of laughter.