The smell of the dirt calms my nerves and keeps me in my boots, big rubber things that keep out everything except what happens to fall in. I am not really living anywhere in particular so the feeling of presence and purpose holds me, reminds me what I am building.
It is repetitive, what I do during the day, pulling, pruning, sweeping, hauling, and digging. The rhythm of each chore is a different kind of comfort than I have ever known in a job and I look forward every morning to putting on my bulky overalls and heading out the door to work in the dirt.
For the first time in forever, I have a job that feeds me. I do not feel drained at the end of the day but physically, and I have this pulse in my muscles, almost every day, that feels like good use. I am working way below my education level and I am happy enough that tears come as I pull the stubborn and foolish grass out of the narrow cracks in the sidewalk.
I focus on the intake and the output of my lungs, lucky things breathing in lavender, rose, cut grass and lemon verbena. At the end of the day I smell it all on me and I don't want to wash. I do, and when I take off my clothes all manner of crawly and leafy things fall at my feet in a circle of gratitude.
I wonder how I ever did anything else. Why did I not think that this might be a nice way to go? How could I have considered sitting at a desk, inputting numbers and creating documents, processes, and programs? How, knowing who I am, did I think that would turn out? Looking back it seems predictable.
But it is easier to know myself in retrospect. I am crystal clear as an azure sky in summer as I float in and out of days that feel like liberation.
Less sure than I have ever been about my future, and more confident that I will be okay. The days stretch out into okay, into love.
The other day I saw four toads hopping out from under a tarp I had to move. They were all quite small, so small the thought crossed my mind that I might have already stepped on one and not known it. Still, the toads were beautiful, and I thought a good omen.
It is a lucky day when you find yourself in the company of toads.