Friday, December 4, 2015

Woman v Wild: Warm-up Edition

I’m taking a sabbatical right now.

There, I said it. Wow. I feel incredibly guilty saying that.

Why is it so hard to say that my husband and I decided my health matters more than my income for six weeks this year? I don’t know, but it is! I am stepping out of the modern American energy sink that we call our lives and spending some time doing things that feed my soul. I’m resting a bit, too, and working REALLY HARD on calming down. That last bit’s sort of a joke. Sort of.

I’m incredibly lucky to be able to do this, so it’s hard to blog about it. Why do we feel better talking about the misfortunes in our lives than the good fortune? I don’t know, so I’m going to do it anyway.

My plan for my sabbatical includes rest, yes, and a relief from the constant stress of absolutely HAVING TO DO TWO THINGS AT ONCE, RIGHT THIS MINUTE, all day long. It also includes hanging with my family and enjoying the holidays. Most of all, though I’m attacking the wild woods. I have a plan to reduce the massive jungle of invasive plants in my backyard, one branch at a time.*

This time of year, being outside sounds wonderful. Florida in the winter actually feels the way I think summer should feel, so I’m excited to be out in the sun and away from the electronics. So that’s healthy, right?

I’m also highly motivated to restore the natural beauty of our backyard because we lost the fight for the cow field. For twelve years, I’ve walked the half mile out of our neighborhood to go see the cow field when I need nature. Those twenty acres of pastureland have been my touchstone, the place that persuades me that humanity is not a blight on the planet. Well, sometime next year, humanity will be putting a high density apartment complex surrounded by walls on those twenty acres of beauty. So…

I need a place to see the beauty of nature and restore my faith that humanity is not a blight on the planet.

I also have a strong symbolic motivation for improving the view from the back of our house. More than half of the windows in our house look out onto the backyard, including the ones in the great room and the master bedroom. Since I work at home, it is my view of the world most of the day. Some of you may remember that the endlessly growing wall of green invasive plants servedas a backdrop for my postpartum depression eleven years ago. Its summer growth reminds me of that time. Taking that down for good will feel good. Really good. Great, in fact.

So, next time I’ll post about my start on the great green wall of invasive plants. Today, I have pictures of my warm-up project—pressure washing our ancient driveway. No, it’s not perfect now, but I chiseled off a layer of dirt, fungus, and mold about as thick as a coat of paint. I accomplished something that tangibly made our lives better. I took care of something that has nagged at me for months.

It felt good. Really good.

*Our backyard merges into a preserve, which we truly appreciate. We have permission to remove the invasive plants from the preserve--for those of you who are interested in such things, they are mostly Brazilian peppers and Caesar weed.  

Before--doesn't look too bad in this shot...

After--doesn't look too great in this shot...

During--now the difference shows!

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