Posts Tagged ‘working outside’

(Is that an intentional action, or do you just nor prefer to do yard work when it’s so similar to what you do for a living?)

Both, I guess.  I’m definitely a firm believer in supporting habitat for native and migrating animals.  The best way to create a healthy and natural place for them to eat and find shelter is to maintain indigenous plant and tree life.  Which doesn’t require much work because those are the species that want to live here anyways.  Plus I think the tall grasses and spindly trees and rocky creek beds of this area are beautiful.  Much more so than a perfectly green lawn and symmetrical beds of store-bought flowers and a team of hired labor to come on Sunday mornings and run lawn-mowers and leaf-blowers and edge-trimmers and all that junk.  But I do do a little garden work.  I grow a few tomatoes and lettuce and beans.   It’s nicer to walk out back and grab some of that for dinner than shove my way through the over-bright and over-crowded grocery store stocked with way too much food that people don’t eat.  Like cacao covered juju berries and crap like that for about $40 an ounce.  I’m sure that’s an “essential part of my nutrition.”  Keep me away from all that noise.  That’s another reason I keep my property wild – when I’m finally back from all the racket of the streets and highways, lord knows I don’t need to start raising a ruckus of my own.

(So, do you live far away from where you work?)

Well. Yes.

I love where I live, and I love where I work.  And the only problem is the distance between them.   Most people commute to work, but I’ve been there before, and I can’t stand the thought of being another mindless drone on the road, a part of the endless line of rubber on asphalt.  While driving, I tune out to everything around me, sheltered by the bubble of my car, aware of only my own insular thoughts.  When you’ve driven a route thousands of times, you don’t even have to consciously turn the blinker on for your exit.  And don’t even get me started on single occupancy drivers in their gas-powered tanks.  Talk about waste.  So I swore to myself that I would never do that again.  And now I take the bus to work.  Sure, it adds a lot of time to my commute, but I don’t mind.  The refreshing walk to and from the bus stop.  Saving myself from the hassle of trips to the DMV.  And I even get to sit by the big window and watch the world swirl.  Tree branches melt together with people and bikes and sunshine and clouds in the window, like they were thrown together in a big blender, complete with the sound of rumbling. And then I step off and breath new un-circulated air and head to work; rubber boots on, hat in hand.   At the end of the day, I walk to the stop on the other side of the street.  It’s actually one of my favorite parts of the day.  Most people who take this bus complain that the line doesn’t come often enough, that they are petitioning for more pickup times.  But I enjoy the wait.  There’s a huge cottonwood tree right by the bench, its leaves flutter down to sit next to me.  Birds come and go like tenants in a New York city apartment, and squirrels display acrobatics like monkeys in the tropics.  And trees, well, maybe I have more trees for friends than the average person, but trees just exude a sense of calm and steadfastness that I have come to really appreciate as an antidote to speeding traffic and the impatience of plastic.


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I don’t know what to say. Well, my name is Clay Berges.

I wake up early every morning, before most people are even dreaming about their alarm clocks going off… I love that time of day when the sky is dusty light blue, when the grass is still wet, when birds are safe to sing without direct sunlight to hide from.  Right now is a great time to work outside, mornings are still chilly enough to induce fog breath, but the days are sweeter and warmer.  I work with plants, in an arboretum. They generally stay in one place and don’t make a lot of demands.  Although they do speak to me: their leaves and flowers and bark tell me about whether they like where they live, if they are hungry or thirsty, if it’s too crowded in bed for decent night’s sleep.  They pay me in an unusual way, with currants and rosehips, brilliant smiling rhododendron blooms, and the shelter of a sweeping pine in the rain. Oh the rain, everyone complains about it because they don’t want to get their hair wet or something.  That’s pretty stupid, I guarantee you most folks got their hair wet in the shower this morning.  They probably went through the trouble of drying it too, even as they looked out the window and saw the grey clouds.  But I guess that’s what you get when most everyone has a job inside, they expect everywhere to be dry and 72 degrees.  Huh.

I don’t work with other people, endlessly yapping about their kids who can kick a ball or how bad traffic was or how they like their particular caffeine fix…No, I prefer to work with sparrows and bull snakes, woodrats, red-tailed hawks,  spiders, bumble bees.  They’re fascinating co-workers, very industrious and helpful in maintaining the life of the park.  There’s a highway along one edge of the park, and I often think about how the cars going by at 60 miles an hour are missing an entire city’s worth of life.  But rarely do they even notice what they are missing…

When I am done with work, I return home to my little cabin in the foothills.  I have had a lot of offers to sell my land, probably to make way for some god-awful development.  Thanks but no thanks, you can keep that check in your breast-pocket. My grandfather owned this land and lived in this very cabin, and he appreciated it and I appreciate it more than some rich shmucks ever would notice all the beauty about it.  My roommate is beautiful, gentle, friendly; she’s incredibly reliable too.  Never missed a meal in seven years.  Her name is Makea, and she’s an Airedale terrier.  She greets me at the door and we usually go straight to romp and walk about in the meadow for a while before dinner; and when I inevitably fall asleep in my chair reading, she makes herself comfortable in a curled up ball on my bed.  Seems rather backwards, I guess, but who minds giving up their bed for a companion?

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