Tidying Up the Green Spaces
There is a long shoot of grass that likes to grow where the cement of my front steps meets the cement of my front walk.
I love that I live in a lush place with a wide variety of green and growing things. All the greens flourish here in Portland: light and dark, deep and bright, bold and even the shy, pale shades. When you fly over this place in the spring or summer, it’s breathtaking to see the variations out the window.
But sometimes the green grows where I don’t want it to grow.
Moss grows along my front walk all winter, spreading mush along firm concrete. The grasses spring up from the tiniest bits of dirt in sidewalks. Unidentified ground cover gushes over the rock beds lining the back of my house and spills onto my patio. I would prefer if the grass (ha! more like weeds) stayed grass and the cement stayed cement, but the two insist on mixing.
One of my favorite spring rituals is getting a shovel from my garage and jamming metal against rock again and again to clear out those spaces. I can pull the grass casually, sure, or dig at the bits of dried moss with my pointy shoes after it dries later in the summer, but really I need to put in my time shoveling. I need to slice under the moss like a surgeon would with skin and discard the strips of green. I need to get on my hands and knees with a small trowel, and root out the insistent grasses. Those cracks collect dirt and then things grow and I have to dig them out.
This is the relationship between the green things and the cement and me.
My shovel makes an awful, clanging, scraping sound on the sidewalk. It probably infuriates my neighbors as the sound bounces off the houses around me, but I don’t mind. I like the brilliant ring of the metal and cement. I want to be a good neighbor, but I want to be a woman who isn’t afraid of making noise in the process of cleaning things out.
It’s easy to be loud online. It’s easy to be quiet. Sometimes I am both of those things for very noble or mundane reasons. Sometimes I am neither.
I’m trying to take it easy in the month of May. Since blogging isn’t my job, I have the luxury of not needing to post every day (or like, week. oops). I’m really more of a writer than a blogger anyway, if I’m allowed to distinguish the two. For me that means being okay with being a slow writer. It means remembering to fill myself up with words or let them play out in offline spaces, not just expend all of my energy on everything all at once. And sleep. I do my best work when I’m sleeping, I think.
April was a busy month of travel, visiting far off family and friends, a full work schedule, guest posts, a seminary application (oh yeah, I’m starting seminary in the fall. no bigs), a conference paper to write and deliver, and more traveling. It was a month of ignoring the things shooting up and creeping out of their space, because I was jumping over it all anyway, racing to the next bit of adventure. I didn’t get much sleep.
May is for restoring and cleaning up the lines again. It’s the month of scraping off the internal moss that has crept into my heart. I’m doing some spiritual work, housework, social playing, self care, and work work. I love the rush of being busy, and every bit of opportunity and challenge in April was incredible. But it is time to rest, because frantic is not a pace that works in my life for very long. I get snarly and unkempt.
It's hard to set boundaries on people or activities or personal growth. I know I could stay up every night til midnight and produce some decent content for this blog, but I also know that it wouldn't be worth the cost. I know I could keep up that April pace of seeing people, scheduling them in, and answering emails. But why? Which of you by doing everything all the time can add one minute to your life? Setting boundaries is exhausting, but it's not nearly as exhausting as not holding them
I’ll have some good things to talk about soon, like Modesty, evolution, distracted shopping, the Sacred Friendships conference, integrity, and flirting. If you subscribe and follow my Facebook page, you won’t miss any of it, I promise.
Until then, I’m going to do a bit of work outdoors and tidy up some other areas of my life. Those grasses are getting ridiculous. I’ve got some shoveling to do.
Right after I finish this next episode of The Mindy Project.