Why I like working in the yard
Joy or Chore?
Yardwork. The very thought makes some people cringe and want to run for the hills. Other people love it so much they build it into their daily routine. Many of the rest of us are fairly hit or miss. We want the nicely mowed, trimmed, and raked yard. Manicured. That’s the word they use, but I wonder if “they” realize just how much time it takes to “manicure” a yard. My guess is that most of the manicured yards are manicured by paid landscapers. For the rest of us, we are our own hired help, for a variety of reasons. It’s not our regular job and we may feel inadequate when it comes to keeping up with the manicured yards. Nonetheless, many like me dutifully get after it as often as duty (or signs of yard neglect) calls. In my case, that’s about every other week on average during the Spring and Summer and pretty much every Saturday in the Fall.
At first blush, it’s a chore. Mowing, trimming, raking. But, once I get going, there’s a certain amount of house-pride that kicks in. Once the sweat starts rolling, it becomes exercise. When the muscles begin to grow weary, there’s a sense of personal satisfaction that takes control. At that point, I am often compelled to go the extra mile and strive for that “manicured” look. Every leaf has to be eliminated. Every blade has to be cut. Every stray branch of every shrub has to be perfectly symmetrical. Granted, due to myriad demands on my time, this is a relatively rare occurrence anymore, but in my younger years, achieving this high level of ornamental landscaping precision was the standard by which I measured myself as a homeowner.
More to It
Beyond the exercise, the pride, and the sense of accomplishment, there lingers that primal connection between man and earth. My little piece of land, this tiny vestige I can call my own, deserves to be made as beautiful as circumstances will allow and, as the owner, it’s a pleasure to spend what precious little leisure time I have working to enhance this plot of earth. Digging in the dirt, working with the plants, toiling by the sweat of my brow. It may be cliché, but there’s a certain soul cleansing that takes place in the process. A kind of reminder that this is part of our heritage, to work and toil.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I don’t think we, as humans, were meant to spent our entire lives indoors. Sunlight, breezes, and the fragrance of flora were meant for us to enjoy. They’re good for us. Getting outside and spending time in nature or, in this case, the yard, is a common theme with me because I find it so uplifting. When our modern lives and responsibilities force us to spend somewhere near 95% of our time inside buildings or vehicles, we need to find ways and reasons and motivation to get out and find the invigoration that comes from what time we can outside of the cages we build for ourselves. Again, my point is, that much indoor time is not in our nature and, for me, it doesn’t feel right.
Plus, when your spouse turns to you in the car after surveying the yard as you’re pulling away from the house for a night out and says, “Wow, nice work, honey,” you can’t help but smile. There are good feelings all around after a productive day of working in the yard.
Looking for Opportunities
If you don’t have a yard, I would encourage you to find a local community garden in your area to work in on a volunteer basis. There are service opportunities available in many locations where you can donate your time and effort toward beautification projects that help your neighbors and your neighborhood and, in the process, yourself. There are folks who are infirm, bedridden, or physically and financially unable to maintain a yard. That’s an opportunity to step in and perform some mutually beneficial service.
And that’s why I like doing yard work.
How ‘bout you? Do you love it or hate it? What do you do to get outside and feel alive and productive? Feel free to leave comments below.
To see more about the benefits of working in the yard, read one or more of these articles: