Happy Dirty

One of my most favorite moments of the past few months was not a crazy jaunt across the world, or a last minute second-row ticket to ‘Hamilton’ – it was a simple snippet of time that happened in the most unlikely of places: my own bedroom. (Calm down, perverts.)

I had spent the day working outside. Somehow the dirt manages to be partly muddy, and partly dry – making for the worst of all worlds – mucky stuff on my shoes and hands, and a dusty layer of airborne soil in my hair and on my clothes. My nose was running, and sweat was carrying dirt to all sorts of fun places. (Mostly my eyes; sorry again, perverts.) The day was cool and breezy, but after spreading cow manure and grappling with patches of pachysandra that have somehow persisted for over a decade, I was a sorry sight. After a winter of relative stagnancy, the stretches involved in preparing the yard for another spring season were a re-awakening of things that had assumed I’d given up on ever stretching again. My body felt sore, my hands and arms were scraped with the cuts and bruises of stubborn plants and incorrigible tools, and my allergies were just beginning to win the battle of pushing me back inside. You would not know it to look at me, but I was happy as a hooker eyeing a vessel docking for shore leave.

My runny nose ran me to the shower, and I let the hot water and soap work their magic in removing the grime of a day from every crevice of my aching body. This was the good kind of pain – the sort that nodded its acknowledgement of a day of work well done. I scrubbed my skin until it glowed like a ‘Peace’ rose, then dried off and combed my hair before sliding into a white terry-cloth robe. I padded barefoot into the bedroom and laid down for a moment, looking out the window where the sun was still shining on the backyard.

That, right then and there, was the moment of happiness and contentment that had eluded me all winter. The comfort after the exertion, the softness after the strife – it was blissful. I promptly fell asleep, which was not my intent, but that was ok too.

It was the sort of simplicity that I so often try to orchestrate, but never quite achieve – and here it was, without even trying.

Another gift of spring.


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