I love doing yard work. Well, not so much yard work as forest-work. I’ve been clearing out the woods behind my house for several weeks now, and am seeing some promising results. I’m so excited to have a little space to myself by the stream. Clearing out a forest is hard work, especially since this one has been neglected for at least a decade. I’ve been hauling around fallen logs, snapping sticks and burning them, pulling out ancient weeds and garbage and carefully sneaking around the edges of thorn bushes. I even dug a huge plastic shelf out of the stream, enabling it to flow freely for the first time in… who knows how long. I’ve climbed trees and thrown down dead branches, yanked vines down from 45 foot tree limbs, and generally worn myself out. When I feel like I can’t move, I hobble over and roast marshmallows over the burning corpses of evil tree-killing vines.
I’m having the time of my life.
But something occurred to me recently: my legs aren’t all scratched up.
When I was a little girl, I had perpetually bloody, lacerated calves. I lived in the woods. I played in the woods. I ran and built forts and climbed rocks in the woods. And in doing so, I got the living shit kicked out of me by the underbrush. Because I was always, always, always wearing a skirt.
Blue jeans are like magic.
I have bruises, sure, because I am a reckless wrecker of dead foliage. I don’t even know how I manage to beat myself up as much as I do. But there’s no blood this time around, and it’s amazing what “not bleeding” will do for one’s stamina. Yesterday, I got to spend five hours doing what I love best – taming the wilderness – with nary a scratch anywhere.
When I was still in my church, I would always swear I could do anything I wanted in a skirt (no matter how ridiculous I looked). Well, I suppose I could. But it’s so much nicer not to get torn to shreds doing it.