Monday, December 10, 2007


I worked in the yard all morning – two hours that is.

It was wonderful. Broke a sweat, got leaves under control (not entirely cleaned up, but manageable now), moved boxes. Breathed in the sunshine.

Box herding involved getting empties out and new Important Ones queued up for inspection. Oh the joy of going for a large one, in a pile, and finding it empty! Small pleasures of moving.

Of course the best reason to work in the yard was to avoid dishes. It worked beautifully, and the satisfaction of a hot shower will also take precedence. Maybe some reading to round out these hours.

Sure, I’ll enjoy a clean kitchen soon. Some of you know it’s a fairly recent phenomena in my life. I was 35 before I began to appreciate (sometimes) cleaning ugly remnants of gastronic indulgences. Now I see it as a small way to bring order out of chaos. All cleaning seems this to me now, and the older I get the more I value orderliness, discipline, routine.

Don’t get me wrong, I can and do slob and procrastinate with the best of them – witness four alarms that must be synchronized, along with my "iron will" to get me out of bed.

I do enjoy the cleaning in small steps now – is a great coach on this. As is recovery. Just do the next right thing. Take care of what you can control. And Judaism teaches “Don’t create false idols.” To me this means cleanliness may be next to godliness, but it’s surely second or third…

I like that I can look at the yard when it was covered in leaves, and remember that internet joke about G-d and Peter (or an archangel, depending on your bent) who was reporting that humans were cutting down the trees that were divinely provided, and raking the beautiful leaves that were a gift from the heavens and even cutting grass. The punch line is something about, believe it or not, “then they fertilize the ground so it will grow more grass!”

Down here in Atlanta I think it is perhaps better to leave the leaves honestly. In a drought, surely it is better to stringently leave well enough alone.


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