I am sleepy from waking each morning at first light to open up the chicken coop and feed the animals.
My back aches from raking and transporting leaves from under the trees to where they will build soil for new garden beds.
My wrists are thick with fatigue after skinning a deer.
My calves twinge at every step with reminders of the moving boxes carried upstairs.
But my mind is free and alive.
My nose is full of the smells of our first bonfire.
My ears remembering pleasant banter of family around the table at Thanksgiving.
My eyes are anxious to look at plans for the orchard one more time.
This is the reality of hard, self-chosen work. My body is spent but my soul fulfilled. My brain motivates my aching joints because processing a wild animal, creating new growing areas, and setting up a more spacious home is what I have desired for so long.
I am tired and happy to be working so hard.
This post is inspired by James Ward, my grandfather, who died recently. He understood hard work as a child building airplane models, a young adult racing and fixing cars, and a home gardener and chicken keeper who turned rock solid dirt into thriving soil that grew the best strawberries I’ve ever tasted. We will attend a memorial service for him today. Rest in Peace, Grandpa.