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  • Writer's pictureebeth206

Digging in the Dirt

I missed my personal deadline here last Friday. And Saturday. And Sunday.

And that felt like shit, of course. But I somehow couldn't help it.

A high school friend who is all things good and wonderful checked in on Sunday morning to make sure I was okay. Was I? In short, yes. But I was going through the motions. I explained to her that it had been a very menopausal week.

Well, perimenopausal. Menopause is simply the cessation of a woman's period, and you're considered to be in it when you've gone twelve months without a period. Before then, you might experience any of a host of seemingly arbitrary symptoms that, as with PMS, are quite real but are too easily written off as coincidental, imaginary, or unimportant: insomnia, weight gain and bloat, mood swings and irritability, brain fog and memory lapses, dizziness, joint pain, loss of libido and vaginal dryness, thinning hair and brittle nails, incontinence, etc., etc. Basically, you can ascribe to perimenopause any capricious lament that 1) occurs over an approximate span of ten years in your middle years if you're a woman; 2) makes you wonder if you're coming to pieces; and 3) causes men to look skyward and change the subject when you mention that you're dealing with it.

I set myself a number of assignments for the blog last week. I went to photograph my favorite local shoe store and came home with two new pairs of sandals, one of which Reed absconded with because we now wear the same size shoe (store entry to come soon). I tried writing about being creative when you don't feel like it, but I didn't feel like it. Another day I tried to photograph my filthy mood and got as far as our basement, which is a filthy space but not really an emotion.

All of this and then the bowl of nuts, because pandemic. Since the entire human population has been collectively thrown off our game, there's been a surprising level of simultaneous commonality to our experience (with allowances, of course, for varying degrees of circumstance). If you've been feeling generally meh? There's a sociological term for it: languishing. Which sounds deceptively like something the ancient Romans might have done while being fanned and fed peeled grapes on a chaise.

But isn't.

So I had to force myself to plant the side garden of our house for which a landscape-design friend mapped out a beautiful array of flowering plants. I had pre-purchased the plants and plonked them down in their nursery buckets amid a dead sea of winter leaves while my bursitic-tendinopathic-frozen shoulder unclenched with the assistance of an excellent physical therapist. Yesterday, after a lot of raking and sweeping and stripping of overgrown ivy and accidental trampling of what Sean identified as last year's Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan) but which I mistakenly assumed was a weed, I arrived at unadorned dirt. And after some digging and idling with a seltzer and installing of plants, I arrived at my garden.

I'm about to make peace with my relative suckiness at cooking and gardening and many other practical tasks. I can get my family fed (sorry, family). And I can set a living thing in the dirt and have it still standing the next morning, even though the dog peed on the hydrangea and the bed is festooned with pollen that fell in the night.

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