Tuesday, August 20, 2013
Everyone in my circle has been telling me to slow down...my family...my friends...my church...even my counselor... But I love working. I love my job. I don't mind the hours or the stress. It does get to me every now and then, just like everyone else who's trying to make it through the day, but all in all, it's a great gig.
I realized over the last few months, though, that many of the things I used to enjoy just don't have much attraction for me now. I don't know if I'm getting older...or I'm tired...or just have changing tastes, or what...but one thing I still enjoy tremendously is my garden. Oh, sure, there's been no shortage of "old man" comments since I started gardening seriously last year, but I don't mind. I even have a straw hat.
Something hit me today, though. (Oh great, here he goes again. Cue fuzzy background)
I realized today that I even rush through my gardening. During planting, it was a dead run to get the ground tilled, manure worked in, rows laid out, strings pulled (The rows HAVE to be straight, duh!) and the seeds or plants in the ground. I don't know why I rushed through it. I really enjoy it. It's not even really work to me. But it was "Get this done and get gone." all the way through the season.
The cool weather garden is done now. The first planting of sweet corn and pole beans are gone. As soon as they were finished, I ran into the corn patch, clippers flying, cutting down corn stalks and bean vines, and straightening up squash vines so that I could till again and plant a late crop of horticulture beans. (Hurry up!)
Today, I picked corn from my other patch. Here's the deal...with all of the corn I've picked before today, I would carry my corn out to the compost pile and stand there while I shucked it (quickly) so I could get it in the house and start cutting it off of the cob. As I walked out to the compost pile today, images of my childhood hit me like a brick to the face.
It's a gorgeous August day. The sun is shining and a little breeze is blowing. As I walked across the yard, the clock turned back thirty years or so and I was transported in my mind to the shade of the pine trees behind my grandparents' house, as Granddaddy backed the pickup truck in loaded down with corn.
Then we'd all pull up a chair, or grab a seat on the picnic table, and it would begin. Somebody would shuck the corn, someone else would silk it, someone else would trim it, then it would be cut off, prepared, and divided up. I can picture it just as clearly as if I were there right now...and it just hit me...that was over thirty years ago...maybe even thirty five years ago.
Thirty years... That's a long time. Where the hell has it gone? Oh, I'm not moping or moaning, or anything like that. I've had a good run so far. I mean, I'm 42 and have no real complaints. But really...that was a lifetime ago. Thirty years...
You know, everyday we are given a chance to learn something about ourselves if we just pay attention. I've learned today that at 42, I've gotten to a point where I rush through the few things I really enjoy doing because life has just gotten so busy...AND...I know I'm not alone. That's not cool.
I know I can buy corn a whole lot cheaper than I can grow it and put it up myself. It's simple economics. But it's not about economics. It's about connecting the boy I was with the man I am. It's about relearning that not everything has to be done so damned fast. It's about remembering that there was a time in my life when sitting under the shade, shucking corn with the family, was the highlight of the day.
So, do you know what I did? I grabbed a lawn chair, packed it over to the compost pile...and sat down to shuck corn. It sounds stupid, I know, and you're probably thinking "It's time for the hugging jacket." That's ok.
I'm trying not to tear up right now. Why? Well, it might not make sense to anyone else, but as I looked down at the hands shucking the corn, they weren't mine...they were my granddaddy's...and it's as if he were saying, "Son, what are you running so hard for? Slow down. Just shuck some corn for a while."
It wasn't until after I published this to my facebook page that I remembered a question Granddaddy used to ask me all of the time. Every time I got ready to leave their house, without fail, Granddaddy would say, "What's your rush, son?" Every time. He's been gone over 10 years now, but I think I finally have an answer: "Well, Granddaddy, I have no clue. I think I can stay a little longer."