I am up way too early for a Sunday morning because my body believes that it's 6 a.m. even though my phone says it's 5 a.m. Oh, well. I do have a lot to get done today, so maybe getting up too early will turn out to be a good idea. It's black cake day, and also grocery shopping day and house cleaning day and ciabatta-baking day, but at least it's not yard work day too. I managed to get all of that done yesterday. I dug up dahlias, and tore out all of the frosted annuals, and cut down the peonies and spurge and other tired perennials, and reorganized the shed, and put away stakes and hoses and garden decorations, and carried the freezable garden supplies into the basement, and planted wood hyacinths in the Hill Country, and raked leaves, and probably I did something else I can't remember: but the upshot is, let it snow. I am ready for you now.
Thus, today I can turn my attention to house and oven. I'll be teaching all of next weekend so I cannot procrastinate with the black cake. And I'd like to get the housework under control so that I can focus on my desk work tomorrow morning . . . that whole other kettle of obligation-fish.
Yes, I am feeling kind of breathless, but not overwhelmed exactly. I was thinking yesterday, as I was hoicking hoses into the shed and heaving dahlia roots into baskets and otherwise doing the grunt jobs of late autumn, about those exercise classes I've been torturing myself with: all that arm and leg and core work . . . really, they are keeping me in training for my own life. It is good to be 57 years old and still able to spend an entire day lifting and lugging, without any particular after-effects. I don't care if I ever run a mile, but I want to be able to shovel and rake forever.
In that way, I'm very like my father, who turns 81 today, and who still shovels and rakes and digs and plants and harvests, and scares us all to death by chainsawing and climbing ladders. But that is his life, his life's work, his daily rite. He wants to stay in harness.