I’ve been so active today that I’m already feeling sore. I’m sore at my Fitbit for jerking me around.
This morning, I spent over an hour down by the river working on my brush and ivy clearing project. Squatting, pulling out ivy by the roots, tugging it out of trees, hauling limbs to the river and chucking them in. The weather was so nice and it felt so good to be moving around that I decided that it was time to get rid of the two dead trees that have fallen over but are stuck on the bank.
So Carlos and I adventured out to Lowes and walked all over the place looking before I chose just the right axe. While the kids played inside the fence and Huck patrolled the bank for deer scents, G and I took turns whacking away at the dead beech tree. Those first chips flew into the air and the THWACK of my mighty axe blows echoed up and down the river. LOOK HOW FIT I AM!!!
It was easy going for the first few inches of tree because that part had been rotting for a while. Then we hit the center–that shit was HARD. Now I understand why they use beech to make railroad ties. (Yes, I looked that up.) G went back in the house for a saw. I was picturing a handsaw but he came back down the hill with a little reciprocating saw. Best used for cutting out keyholes and finger sandwiches. I fought not to roll my eyes. (I sure do sound like my parents’ daughter at this point, mocking my city-born man for his choice of blade.)
But damn if we didn’t–with a combination of me on the axe, G on the nail file, a 4×4 used as a wedge under the chopped part and some ill-advised hopping up and down while perched on the part that tilted out over the river–get that tree snapped in two and tumbled into the water for the fish to nibble!
G cut down a couple of little scraggly cedars and some privet before the reciprocating saw said, “Take me Jesus, I’m done.” He went back to the house while I continued my fight with the English ivy. Seriously, I used to think that stuff was lovely, but now that it has taken over my river bank, I am looking into whether our neighborhood covenants will allow a goat.
After two hours of lumberjacking and full contact gardening, I came back in the house and synched my dongle. (You Fitbitters will know what I’m talking about –the rest of you will think perverse thoughts.)
Guess what? As I sat there with my back muscles aching and my thighs screaming, Fitbit was like, “Yeeeeeeaaaaaah, girl, that’s good for you and all, but I’m about THE STEPS. Sorry.” It blinked two little piddly-ass lights at me (4000 steps). Oh, but my dashboard DID give me a pat on the head for TWO VERY ACTIVE MINUTES. I’m guessing, since we’re going based on steps, that those were the two minutes it took me to walk down the hill with my tools and then drag my tired butt back up the hill after hours of effort.
I’m not giving up. After the kids were in bed tonight, I walked myself up to the movie theater and my Fitbit went CRAZY. It was all, “Now you’re STEPPING!”
There’s a Zen proverb that comes to mind:
Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.
After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.
Finding our goal isn’t something separate from everyday life. It’s the tasks of every day that help us get there. Enlightenment doesn’t happen on just the right yoga retreat and fitness doesn’t happen because my wrist tells me so.
Even when we reach the goal, we still have to take care of the daily tasks that keep us living. I can’t walk to the movie (YAY!) then eat a tub of popcorn (BOO!). The path is never something outside your life. It is your life.
Work’s not valuable because the Fitbit can measure it. Work is valuable because now I can sit on a clear spot and appreciate the miracle of having a river in my back yard.