Sunday, July 16, 2006

Don't invite me to a barnraising

Well, I feel like the neighborhood slug after reading Greta's comment yesterday. [Insert rueful smile here.] I will confess right here and right now that it never even occurred to me to offer to help those girls dig the garden. That's how focused I was on completing my 6.6-mile loop.

Yeah, that's the ticket.

I leave analysis up to the Spousal Equivalent; that's what he gets paid for. But I've been thinking
all day and all night about why I didn't pitch in and start digging. Well, not all day and night, but it's been much on my mind. Because normally I'm considered a pretty helpful kind of person. Anything you need, just ask Debbi.

So if they'd asked for help, I would definitely have picked up a hoe. [I didn't see a spare one; maybe I needed a visual clue to spur my generous nature.]

More than anything else, I think my modern brain is wired to do things the most efficient way. My neighbor could have had that plot dug in an hour, by himself, with his rototiller. Then he would have smoothed it all out with that thingamjig he attaches to the back of his tractor. Leaving the girls more time to, oh, I don't know, bake bread or something.

But the point, really, is that they have the time, and their brains are wired to use their bodies, not machines.

Greta [by the way, whenever I type your name I type "Great" first, and have to correct it], I'm grateful for your comment, for it's made me think. Not about my ungenerous nature, because I truly am a giving, helpful person. I'm thinking more and more about stuff I've talked about before: How can I work more unintentional physical activity into my normal routine? I agree with you absolutely that after a hard workout I don't have the energy to do what needs to be done.

Maybe we need more vitamins?

And then this morning I read Jonathan's comment and wonderful quote from Wanderlust. So I guess when I came home to knit, I was 'woolgathering.'

Except I'm knitting with nylon ribbon. So I was 'nylongathering.' But purposefully!


loretta123 said...

In my case, those Amish girls would rue the day I pitched in to help with a garden. This clueless, hate-the-heat, afraid of bees/wasps city-girl would not have had anything to offer but complaints and useless skills. Better to invite me to the early morning or late day barn raising equipped with a hammer or where I’d be expected to provide the nutritional refreshment for the workers. We all have our gifts. The key, I think, is acknowledging the gifts we have and being generous with them, not in offering help when we have nothing to provide.

You know you were happier on your 6.6-mile loop. I suspect they were happier to be planting a garden than walking in a circle. A win-win!

Greta said...

The beauty of all the "time-saving" appliances and manufactured goods we have supplied to us is that it DOES free us to walk and knit and read, write and contemplate which is a mark of higher civilization. I think I probably would not have helped hoe either, but then I am not at all a gardener even at my own home. I think you were very neighborly to talk to the Amish Dad and then walk around back to chat with the girls making everyone in the family feel welcome to the neighborhood. It was also a wonderful accomplishment to finish off 6 miles instead of the usual 4. I was not meaning to criticize when I commented yesterday. I also agree that if it were my garden I would have rented a rototiller.

Debbi said...

Great Greta, I know you weren't criticizing me. You did make me think, though, and I'm truly grateful for that, as I said. As long as my mind and heart remain open to new ideas, I figure I'm teachable, and that's the one thing I want to be more than anything else. Thank you again for your comments -- all of them!

Greta said...

My comments yesterday also got ME thinking. I have been thinking of putting some energy into cleaning out my garage and into doing some bush trimming in my yard. I just wish it wasn't 100 degrees these days which makes for very bad outdoor chore weather. Today my "chore" was being on my feet, walking and hauling gear for 9 hours on my job as a wedding photographer. I ought to wear a pedometer and see how far I walk some time. I sure have sore knees, ankles and feet! I walk about 3 miles a day some days and six miles on other days, and I weight lift twice a week, but none of that prepares my body sufficiently to handle a long wedding.