This past year I’ve been envious of my neighbors. Raised beds, tiny lawns, fruit trees, trellises, rain wise gardens, way more tomatoes than is strictly necessary, all inspiring longing and envy. I love being outside and I love working with my hands. I love food and green growing things. I love the smell of blooming shrubs and trees. I love the satisfaction of eating something I coaxed from the earth myself. And I live in an apartment.

I’m finally going to have my own garden. Back east, somewhere in the general vicinity of Spokane, there’s a place I go sometimes. I’ve been here for the past four days and right now my hands are so, so tired. I’ve been raking and digging and drilling and hammering and picking up and putting down and ripping out and planting and hopefully, by next spring, it will all burst forth with greenery and beauty.

But right now it’s dirt and empty and holy hell my hands hurt and I tried to fit an eight foot by two inch by twelve inch plank in my Prius (successfully, with clear awareness of how ridiculous I looked loading them (yes them. There were four) into my hatchback) and I only fixed one of the screen doors… Projects are endless but it feels good to watch them progress.

I am not a submissive lover but after this week I understand absolutely the pleasure of marking. Marking, usually bruising, often simply soreness, sometimes something as extreme as scarring, is a reminder to the bearer of good damn times. My hands are sore and my back hurts, I’ve got a scrape on one shin and bruise on the other, there are matching blisters on my thumbs, and I am in sore need of a manicure. They’ll heal and fade and that’s for the best, but as I type, I can feel the evidence in my body of the work I’ve been doing the past four days. It feels good.

After 18 months of forced doing-nothing-ness, it feels good to have, and work on, a project. In retrospect I should have been doing this all last summer but hindsight and all. I thrive on projects. Little things like replacing a switch or rearranging the furniture. Big things like moving house or building a garden. All of them feel good to do, and to have done. I sometimes pile on more than I should, and get mad at myself when I don’t get it all done, but without them, I flounder.

So it was no surprise to my friends and family when, last year, I fell somewhat apart. I did make a short film, and a website for it. And I did play all of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild (I will fight anyone who says that’s not an accomplishment). And I did continue to volunteer weekly taking care of shelter animals. But I didn’t finish learning French and I didn’t knit myself any more hats and I didn’t build a garden and I didn’t join a digital choir and I didn’t build the new Seattle sex worker website and…. And it took another year for me to be ok with that.

And I am. Ok, I mean. Life kinda got stuck there for a minute and I *did* learn to forgive myself a little. But man am I glad to be back in the thick of some projects. I return to school for a certificate program in just a few days and my sore hands tell me I did something big this weekend. Week. I have planning to do for other things and there’s a surprise in the works for my darling clients in the coming months.

But for now, I and my tired fucking hands are going to sit by the fire and try to catch up on my crosswords.

It’s good to be back.

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