turning in

DEEBB70E-AF1A-409B-87DF-808D7CBFC2B0The day winds down and I’m sticky from my labor. My skin is clammy and my hair pasted behind the frame of my fogged glasses. I feel the day’s work in my feet. My gait is different in the evenings. I shuffle a bit with slowed steps that are bearing what feels like twice my weight. The body begins to turn in with sundown. Like a morning glory, or poppy. Nyctinasty.

My hens are roosting but still panting. They’ll nestle into their necks eventually as they cool from the scorch of mid summer. But I see this rhythm in my garden, my critters, my people. We are evolved enough to know to tuck in each night.

As my last outdoor chore, I snip lettuce leaves the size of palms, then curly kale. Next, tender mesclun and aromatic herbs, and toss them into a steel bowl wider than me. I perk up amongst the leafy greens, suddenly astonished that I don’t have a soundtrack playing in my mind this particular moment. There’s always a song in my head, cued up for every mundane task. But it’s just nocturnal noises and my little girl’s inquisition as she strokes the back of a cat. And she asks me what my favorite color is for the hundredth time, knowing full well it’s green. It’s just the way she initiates with me. She must always be asking the questions, and I must supply her an optimal answer.

The finger-smudged storm door flings open like it knew I was coming. A gust of north wind took the latch off years ago but nobody seems to mind enough to repair it. I’m hauling in the harvest on my hip, about to call the day done. I go through a mental checklist in my mind of what I accomplished in my 14 hrs thus far. I’m measuring progress. And not just what I can physically see, but much of what I cannot. That’s much harder to quantify. I just know I did what I could, with what I know, where I am, and whom I am. And now I’m folding it all up like a note-to-self for tomorrow. I’ll tuck it away with the rest of the day, and put all my efforts to rest, and nestle into the night like I was meant to.

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