outside

i know there are people who live in all kinds of climates who are happy to be indoors. i am not one of those people. i hate being indoors. i hate housework. i hate indoor hobbies. unless i’m ill or exhausted, i hate plopping down to watch tv or a movie. it always feels like such a waste of time. i have shit to do.

i am increasingly aware that the really real reason i hate winter is that i’m stuck in the house for five months. i start knitting projects i never finish. i spin half a spindle of fiber and abandon it. i spend a weekend cleaning the house top to bottom and get so annoyed by it that i don’t do it again for weeks. or months. i have seven drafts in my wordpress draft folder that are all from this past winter. some of them are just titles with no content. i am unfocused and crabby and emotionally drained from november until april.

lots of people have outdoor winter hobbies and recommend them as a way to cope, but it’s not about just being outdoors. i want to be outdoors and be productive. i want to mow the lawn or spread mulch or weed beans. i want to string fence or brush ponies. i want to haul brush or clear saplings. when i take a break, i want to sit for a half hour in the sun if it’s cool or the shade if it’s hot with a drink and a podcast. i get occasional whiffs of satisfaction in shoveling after a snowstorm or repairing a broken fence, but it’s cold. my nose runs. my fingers freeze. it’s all about getting it all done so i can go back inside where there’s nothing interesting to do or see.

we’re having our first days where it really feels like spring. the early migratory birds are back. there are wood frogs quacking in vernal pools that are still half frozen. crocuses and colts feet are shining their sweet faces back at the sun. and i have spent every moment i could outdoors.

while it was still chilly this morning, i transplanted and watered my tomatoes, peppers, basil, and cabbages and packed up a bunch of the tomatoes to bring to work and share. i planted about 100 tomatoes and i need… maybe 6? i had to run into town to get some grain, which cut into my outdoor time, but i spent the afternoon raking the lawn and flower beds, unloading grain, taking down some winter fence, burning some brush and cardboard, and sweating! and getting sun on my skin! it was sublime! i have a sunburn tonight! amazing!

it’s early yet; there’s only so much to do. i have to keep reminding myself that i can’t go order a load of mulch from the feed store yet. i have to wait for everything that survived winter to come up. i certainly can’t plant anything yet; we’re weeks out from the last frost. i can’t put down grass seed or put up summer fence. but i can watch and wait and pick stones and haul branches. soon it will be summer and everything will need to get done. and i will be happy.