The last three mornings I’ve played being a lumberjack. Well, sort of. I’m not even the one running the Chain saw, my brother in law is handling that. But we’ve been working on a project to clear out an area of our back woods for a play house for the kids, and to expand our usable backyard. It’s turning out to be a really great experience.
First, the weather. I’m actually starting to appreciate this rainy weather, especially since I’m getting hot and sweaty in 65 degree drizzle already — what if it were sunny and 90? Wearing mud boots I don’t mind sloshing through really muddy water or the wet backyard, and the smell of wood and the vegitation is intoxicating. Beyond that, it’s beautiful out there. The clearing still has stumps and branches that need to be cleaned away, but it’ll be a gorgeous little open area. I find myself even enjoying the little path I take carrying logs to the woodpile, and the noise as my brother in law finishes a tree and his son and I push on it with a long thin log to direct it’s fall. Simply, I love the Maine woods.
Tonight we burned loads of brush — parts of the trees that had leaves or were too small to save as firewood. We got a huge blaze going, despite drizzle and very wet wood (with a little help from gasoline), and it was comforting to know that the lawn is so wet and full of puddles that there was no chance the fire could spread. Then briefly some blue sky appeared, we tried to roast marshmallows; the blaze was too hot to get the marshmallows close t0 the flames, but we got some smores nonetheless. It was wondrous — a fire going, walking through the new clearing in the woods on a nice cool evening…a memorable day.
After class today the students in my summer course complained about the weather — week after week of cool rain, no sun…and no sun in the forecast at this point. I decided it really doesn’t bother me. Perhaps what people miss is not good weather, but enjoying nature. When it’s rainy people tend to stay inside, think about all the things they aren’t doing, and choose not to walk in mud and wet grounds, or feel rain or drizzle on their cheeks. Thus people are inside more, and probably get more easily bored. Also, we have a schema in our heads of what summer should be — sun, beach, and tans. This doesn’t fit our schema, we learn to be disappointed.
A friend of mine has her four year old doing outdoor swim lessons, and notes that his lips turn blue and he often swims in the cold drizzle with the other kids. Yet, he enjoys it. He hasn’t learned that this isn’t what swimming should be, it’s simply fun. Perhaps the key is to find ways to enjoy this weather anyway, even if it’s not the usual summer fare — it’s not as good perhaps as laying in the sun or looking at the starry sky while camping, but there will be days for that too. The key is not to let oneself get bored in the present.
I’m not bored these days. AMs working outside, afternoon class, evenings preparing the next day’s class, and sometimes finding time to write a quick blog entry, e-mail or facebook (nice to take a quick look at people’s updates), and work on a review due by July 15 — my days are if anything a bit too busy. Yet the time in nature removes all stress, and given the subject of my course — “Consumerism, Politics and Values” — gives me a sense of virtue. There is more satisfaction in carrying logs and helping clear trees than playing a new video game or going shopping. I also get exercise, have time with my brother in law and his son (though the language barrier is quite large) and yeah — it’s good.
Still, a day on the beach would be nice too!