Hard Work

Feral child with broadfork

Over the past week I’ve been prepping the beds in my vegetable garden. This involves a tool called a broadfork, which, aptly named, is a very broad upside-down fork with several long blades and two handles sticking up on either side. To work the blades down into the earth, you have to jump on the tool and rock it side to side. Then you work the handles forward and back to slice through the earth, thus aerating the soil while preserving its structure. You lift the broadfork, move six inches back, and repeat the process.

Broadforking is hard work, and it takes a long time. I am not weak, but I am smaller, and so I have to throw my whole body behind the pulling of the handles or they will not budge. I sweat, I ache, my shoulders burn. My hands begin to blister through my worn out gardening gloves.

And yet, jumping, rocking, pulling, plunging, something starts to settle in me. The fog of all of my imagined anxieties can no longer compete. This chore is hard enough to take all that I’m carrying and work it down into the dirt. And when I am finished for the day, I can sit back, emptied and exhausted and irrationally happy and finally calm.

Published by Michelle

Writer, reader, homesteader, pluralist Mennonite

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