Saturday, October 19, 2019

Tote that Barge, Lift that Bale

Tote that Barge, Lift that Bale

[ Continuing to beat the dead horse, started in the essay “Work Harder, Not Smarter” ]

            Lifting weights is fine. The weights go up. The weights come down. The weights go up. The weights … watch your head! Well, you've gotten stronger. Hope the weights enjoyed their journey to nowhere. Were you generating electricity with those back and forth motions? No? Were you shooing away mosquitoes? Demonstrating a dance? Keeping warm?

            Let me recommend gardening. All the motions and stresses found in the gym are available, including stretching at odd angles (yoga), sitting in funny positions (pilates) and swatting at mosquitoes (dance). But, you're creating something!

            Picking up a leaf might be a stretch, but my leaf pile, years in the making and sometimes taller than I, is more than enough if you want to practice deadlifts. A pitchfork, stuck in the bottom, could not be lifted straight up by any champion powerlifter.

Repeating the beautiful picture from July's essay: turning over this leaf/compost pile would exhaust a powerlifter!

            A trowel full of dirt may be elevated by a child, but a shovel full of wet clay, lifted from the bottom of a hole, will be enough to tire you after ten or twenty repetitions.

            Mixing a variety of items in a wheelbarrow, such as clay, pine fines, compost, humus and chemicals is easier than digging holes, until you've done this for fifteen minutes without a break. Aerobics!

            Walking? Constantly moving from holes and beds to the work area and back, dragging my butt and hoses all over the yard to water, getting and bringing back tools to the shed (don't lose them in the leaf litter!), and running from packs of wolves or rabid chipmunks will put up large numbers on a steps-per-day meter. Enough to brag about. Exhausted, the step-meter will beg to be returned to the store.

            I've written elsewhere of the horrors of labor-saving devices, as my garden experience centers around a shovel, a rake and a wheelbarrow. No, I don't cut my lawn with scissors, but it gets done when my wife gently notes that she lost her car in the savanna as high as an elephant's eye and has also discovered where I hid the mower.

            So, yes, I do use labor-saving devices, including my car, which saves me from walking miles back home from the store carrying dirt and chemicals. But, I'm not proud of that. Maybe in my next life you'll see me moving down the highway, stiff and erect, bags of mulch balanced in a tippy pile atop my head. And, you'll be jealous.

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