Acceptance of 5 yards of compost and the duty to apply it to the depleted soil in my garden.

Acceptance. At present (Thursday evening) I am accepting a glass of Old Vine Zinfandel in a glass a friend gave me, thoughtfully inscribed with the legend “It’s not really drinking alone if your dog is home.” The etched dog that accompanies this sentiment looks as close to a Beagle-Dachshund mix as it can be, which depicts my much loved and dearly departed canine companion, Doc Holliday. Wait a second while I refresh the glass so you can see it better.

Acceptance of a glass of wine to ease the pain of today’s hard manual labor.

Acceptance of a little more Zinfandel because today I accepted something else, too: 5 yards of compost. My garden is a hotbed of clay so I’m doing my level best to amend the situation before this year’s garden goes in.


Today I toted about half of the compost, via 20 wheelbarrow loads, from the driveway to the garden beds behind the house. Our weather in Walla Walla was doing its imitation of the Dust Bowl of the 1930s (steady winds in the 20s with gusts in the 40s)  so I pushed myself, especially my arms and shoulders, to move as much compost as I could to its ultimate destination before it seized the opportunity to blow into my neighbors’ front yard. The remainder now resides under the biggest blue tarp in creation, held down by bricks and sticks and the rear tires of the Subaru.


So that’s your excuse for having more wine?


Yes, Lily, it is. Lily is my inner fourteen-year-old and my mother (Hi, Mom!) will be glad to know she keeps tabs on me. The wine is for medicinal purposes, a magic elixir that will turn my left shoulder from stone into the usual incredibly stiff left shoulder.


Is that really necessary?


My best answer is, I am the one who shoveled twenty shovels full of compost into the wheelbarrow on each of twenty different and unique occasions and wheeled it over incredibly lumpy ground (aka the lawn) from the driveway to the farthest spot of our property, then worked it into the clay hard-pack. You, with the advantage of being a Person Inside, did not.


Your point?


My point is, I am no longer the sanctimonious fourteen-year-old who took a vow to abstain from drinking alcohol, until she was twenty-one, at confirmation. Spoiler alert: we made it to nineteen, when we got engaged but also, on a subconscious level, recognized this was a bad idea and drank several screwdrivers at a frat party, our first alcohol since the two beers we drank at that party we weren’t supposed to be at when we were thirteen- –


We don’t need to go into that- –


Oh yes we do, Lily, because, I repeat, you are not the one who moved all that compost!


Dad gave us a sip of his wine at one of their cocktail parties. Remember? From one of those little moss-green stemmed glasses. It tasted really sour!


That’s because it was the 1960s, 9 (my inner nine-year-old, in case you haven’t guessed), and red wine at that time, by definition, was a nasty jug of Burgundy. Now, can we get on with the blog and talk about something even more important than compost and wine?


Oh, my brain hurts. What could be more important than compost?


Thanks, Lily, for providing the weekly snark. The important part comes from a revelation I experienced on the Nordic Track this Wednesday.


Visions again?

I think we better hide the wine.


Oh hush, you two, this is a big deal. The Pink Martini CD, Sympathique, was my Tracker music and something about listening to it made me realize that we, humans, often make ourselves miserable by attaching our own experiences to all kind of things in this world and settling into unhappy existences every time we encounter these things. Here’s what I boiled it down to:



Today’s Big Truth:


If there’s a song that makes you melancholy, listen to the song only as itself. It exists outside of your experience and has its own identity. Listen with new ears.

If there’s a place you’ve been, one that is beautiful but where someone broke your heart, look at that place only for itself, what it is now and always has been. It has its own identity. Look with new eyes and walk with new feet.

If there’s a person you love who makes you sad, for how they’ve changed since the time they made you happy, see them for who they are now. They exist outside of your relationship to them. Feel with a new heart.


Everything around us is changing all the time. All we have is now. Love now.


Whether you’re nine or fourteen or sixty-one or something else, pandemic plus Nordic Track plus the right music equals acceptance.


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