And then, about half an hour later ... my arms and back began to ache. The enormity of the job began to discourage. And Gabriel, who had wandered into other parts of the yard, suggested a story inside would be more fun. Yet I persisted, for a few more loads at least. And then went out later in the day to shovel some more. The pile compelled me.
This holiday break has been so lovely, filled to the brim with family and friends (pictures soon to come), and the last few days have focused on the wood chip-like work that we have been waiting til now to do, before this baby girl comes to join us in two short months. Ikea furniture assembly! Hand-me-down sorting and organization! Even the enormous pot of minestrone I made for friends last night that had me chopping kale and potatoes into tiny pieces for what seemed like hours. It has all required a slower pace, a refusal to multi-task, a giving over to the sometimes tedious, sometimes soothing nature of work with our hands.
It's been restorative. We've been working on it all together. Gabriel goes back to school tomorrow, I go back to work the next day, and everything will slide into a much faster, frenetic pace before I know it. So right now I am soaking in - as best I can - the stillness, the starkness of backyard birds on bare branches, the lingering hugs, the slow mornings in pajamas. The extraordinary pleasure of being our family of four, before we grow and change once again!