Digging in the Yard

     I rake to uncover all the grass and useless earth I had previously covered up. Worms wriggle from the unexpected exposure to the sun. The leaves turn into a large heap which I pull over to another area. Pulling up the plastic comes next. Now there are earthworms and other beetles exposed by this act. I stand silently and watch as the beetles skitter away into holes. It reminds me of the crabs which had tunnels next to the house on the island. They would crouch down if you exposed them to the sun and move back under the covering on the porch. Some days I would sit outside and listen to the small sounds of them digging, claws clicking. Others days it would annoy me to hear them.

     The ‘claw’ comes next. I raise it up and high to plunge it into the hard earth which is wet and softer now than before. Twist it, raise it high again. Plunge it over and over until my shoulders tire. Sweat is pouring down my face, my neck and pools at the small of my back. I am not supposed to be out here. The sun is up too high already and the humidity is high today. Yet I work on exposing any random grass roots to the sun to wither and die. I see the rusted spiral screw which held the long line for my dog I had to put down in 2014. My heart clenches in response to the memory of her and for moment I hesitate at the pain in my chest. 

     Breathe deep, move on. This pain has passed. It is only a memory. So I breathe in deeply. As I pull in the scents of the wet earth, the wet leaves and all the mulch I’ve created fills my nostrils. Squirrels run past on the fence eager to get past the dogs in my backyard. They chatter and fight as they jump to the next yard’s large oak tree. My hair is hiding my face. My hair is sticking to my face from sweat and I know it’s far past time to go inside. I want to push a bit more and I know better than to do this. By this time I am feeling tired, used up.

      I’m already grumpy this morning. This is only serving to make me feel no release to my anger, my frustration and loneliness. Whistling for the last dog in the yard I take all the yard tools inside to put away where they belong. I think for a second about the wind chime I’d found and tossed on the heap. I should go back out there and put it up so I can hear it’s sounds in the wind. No..go inside, be done with this for now.

       Up since 5am I’ve already put in a full day’s work. Caught up with my social media, prepared for the upcoming public reading of my poetry and checked emails. Then more work, more writing calls to me. I stretch my memory of what I’ve done today and write it all down. Have I eaten?do I remember eating? Briefly at 6am. It’s been six hours now and this is far too long. Yet I sit and write while avoiding the daily frustration of eating when I do not want to eat. 

       So instead I shower, get cleaned up and make some more tea. Because there is always tea to drink. Yes, tea will do for now. Looking out the window I see the area I worked on and marvel I was able to do this bit or work outside at all. My eyes close and I realize something. In spite of all my grumpiness I still never take my days for granted. All those activities everyone else takes for granted, ones which seem so simple. These are all gifts to me to be able to do at all. Why do I continue to push so hard past my limits until I nearly fall? 

        Each day I wake up, am able to walk into the bathroom, change into workout clothing, and then run. These are gifts I don’t take for granted. So why not run within the limits of my fence line instead of pushing hard at those fences willing them to fall down? 

         I really don’t have the answer. This is life after PTSD. Life moves on and I don’t have all the answers. I think I’m finally getting to place of “okay” with not having all the answers. 


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