I expected to be more sore today. Yesterday, after a vigorous spin class, I popped by the house of friends. They were getting 2 pallets of mulch and 2 pallets of river rock delivered. As with many an item, the delivery stops at the driveway, so they planned to spend as much time on Saturday as it took to get the mulch and rock to the backyard, behind a fence with a lock.
I planned to help. I thought I would stay for an hour. But it was such a nice day, and the work went fairly quickly, and it was so strangely satisfying. My spouse was out of town, so my day was completely my own. After the week I had at work (shredding, sorting, 3 hour long HR meetings, sad/angry people), it was so WONDERFUL to feel like we were making progress and to feel like I was truly helping.
It was also wonderful to realize that my body works in this way. We were 3 women age 49 and over, and we could move 4 pallets in less than 2 hours. Each bag of rocks weighed 40 pounds, and I moved at least 20 of them. We all work out, but we don't do a lot of manual labor. Although I wouldn't want to do it every day, and certainly not for a living, it was good to know that I can do it.
Afterwards we drank some white wine and ate cheese and crackers under the shade of the tikki hut. We marveled at the wonder of strong arms and strong backs. We speculated about how sore we'd be. I came home, took some ibuprofen, read a bit and took a nap.
During the past week, I devoured Emily St. John Mandel's Station Eleven. It's the kind of book with unanticipated twists and neat closures, and I wanted to reread it while I still remembered the twists and resolutions. So, yesterday, I did. By rereading, I really mean another quick zip through.
It's an interesting book, and I'll likely say more about it in a later blog post. It's apocalyptic, but only slightly terrifying. It's also elegiac about all the things we'd miss if civilization truly crashed.
Later in the day, I got my signed copy of Jeannine Hall Gailey's new collection of poems, The Robot Scientist's Daughter. It was the perfect book of poems to read after reading Station Eleven. It's an amazing book, and I'll post a full review later. Meanwhile, if you want a signed copy for yourself, go here.
My spouse's plane didn't land until 10:08 p.m., so I had the afternoon and evening to myself. I spend so much time yearning for swaths of free time--and then, it took some time to get used to it. I thought of generations of women like my grandmother. I doubt that she yearned for alone time, the way I often do. I thought of her stranded in her old age, suddenly alone once my grandfather died. She was still able to fill her time, of course, the way so many women used to do, with volunteer work at church.
Throughout the day, I worked on some writing projects and tuned into Facebook. I read. I ate a lot of broccoli with some shredded cheddar cheese. It's a glamorous life. As I think about it, my Saturday demonstrated all sorts of fitness. I have human connections, both in real life and online. I have artistic projects. I have ways to stay in touch. I have ways to disconnect (reading, primarily).
I think of the Hollywood characters in Station Eleven, and then the characters living in the post-apocalyptic time. The book is clear that it's our human connections that matter--and having artistic practices helps a lot too. My Saturday was a great example of that.