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The Pile

12 Days of Thanksgiving: DAY TWO

Yesterday I spent some time with my little ones outside again. I love the magic that fresh air often provides to our spirits. We’ve been working on a project this year in the back yard. For me, it’s a project to transform the back yard into the back garden. That distinction is lost on the kids, of course. They are simply enjoying the opportunity to dig in new dirt. I’m enjoying the opportunity to reclaim something.

I call it “the pile.” The back corner of my property had been left as a growing debris pile for many years — the place where unwanted plants, dirt, clippings, and limbs were all left to decay. As “the pile” grew, it had become an eyesore. The huge display of rotting and drying vegetation had begun to take over the yard, the view and my enthusiasm. In my mind “the pile” had become a symbol of growing frustration with other areas of my life I felt had been neglected and left to dry up and wither. Areas that seemed to be taking over and squelching my vitality.

Beyond that, “the pile” had become shameful to me. It was ugly. It was unkept. It was irresponsible. It was intimidating. It represented my own resistance to stand up and cultivate the life of significance I really want.

I’m writing in past tense. It WAS. Back in the Spring, I decided to tackle “the pile” and operation reclamation began. I hired someone to come and haul the pile away leaving bare ground. Slowly (with the help of my Mom and the cheers of my kids) I’ve thought through that plot of earth’s possibilities. I’ve marked off areas for plantings. We’ve pruned and cleared unwanted plants. We planted azaleas and tea olive shrubs. We added a wooden swing. With great excitement, we hauled in a funky shaped playhouse for Baby Girl’s birthday. We even added a few plants around its little stoop.

All the while, we’ve been giggling. We’ve been digging. We’ve been getting muddy. We’ve been working. We’ve been planning and imagining. We’ve been ENJOYING that space. We’ve been LIVING in that space.

Yesterday, we put out seed in that space. We bought the rye seed. We stood amazed at how tiny they were. We dumped them into the seed spreader and we rolled them out into that reclaimed earth.

As I think about Thanksgiving and the recognition of bounty it provides, I can’t help but be reminded about the power of sowing seeds. About the need to clear ground before new growth can occur. About the joy and confidence that comes from reclaiming what has been squelched. About the reminder that spaces must be empty before they can be filled. Bit by bit, step by step, cultivating is inspiring. In all its messy stages. It’s admirable. It’s worthy of gratitude for each foothold that is gained.

It’s so easy to focus attention on where we are NOT in this journey of living. It’s so easy to give credence to the place we haven’t yet reached. It’s so easy to discount the necessary small (and big) steps it takes to get there. I’m so thankful for “the pile’s” tangible reminder that green grass — the grass I can’t see now — begins with removing dead branches. It begins with determining that something must be cleared if I am to gain NEW ground. I’m thankful for the reminder that preparing the earth is a necessary step in enjoying bounty.

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