Don't worry. This post is not about what you might think.
But it is about theft. Of a kind.
It all started when I headed out to the driveway for some pothole repairs. Minutes before,
while finishing a strong cup of sweet milky tea, I'd been re-reading some inspirational quotes.
Collected over the years I revisit them periodically - a kind of mental balm.
As I shoveled gravel, loaded buckets into the cart, hauled them down the drive,
one quote in particular
kept going round & round in my head.
Manual labor does this to me. Always has. And I suppose if I really examine the subject
I'd have to say that one of the aspects of hard physical work I enjoy the most
is that there's precious little room for mental distraction - it taxes my body
while something akin to stream-of-consciousness thinking always sets in.
Perhaps it's to do with endorphins, I don't know.
My 10" X 10" cast iron tamper weighs about 16 pounds and aside from a shovel
- and my own muscle power, such as it is -
it's the only tool necessary for the tedious job of compacting as much gravel as possible
into every size imaginable sodden pothole.
Old-timers would advise me to do this patch job in the dry season
but I've found that after baling a bit of the standing water, those mushy spots are perfect for
accepting a new [repaired] stoney base.
And when they do dry, they're tough as cement.
So I'm out there, working away .... tamping, tamping, tamping,
emptying one gravel bucket, two gravel buckets, leveling, tamping, tamping, tamping,
and my mind wanders off with the quote
and it wanders over to recent thoughts I've had in relation to artist friends who
somehow feel like their creative work isn't good enough; then over to my pal, a fellow dog owner,
whose goal to compete in Agility is being stymied by not feeling good enough; then
to a very sweet gal I know who wouldn't come join in on volunteer wreath-making this season
because she was certain she couldn't make them as pretty as the rest.
Even though she was sorely desirous of camaraderie, she wouldn't come.
My neighbor is embarrassed about her beat up car.
One of my dear ones is so sure she won't measure up she's decided she won't even risk
applying for the job she so desperately wants - no words of encouragement can budge her.
One friend is so jealous of another she's stopped speaking to her altogether,
such is her perception of the other's success & good fortune in life.
The list went on
and eventually the wondering came around to myself
so I asked self a few tough questions about how I hold my own self back.
Why DO so many of us rob ourselves of joy?
Because that's what we're doing when we constantly compare ourselves to others.
I lock my doors when I'm away from home for any amount of time. I lock my car when I'm
in town and take precautions with online banking.
My doggy is secured in a safe enclosure where harm can't come to her and I
watch my back when I'm in a strange place, walking.
All these are safeguards against theft of one kind or another.
But what of the intangibles ...
is joy of any less value?
The lowly pothole can be a splendid mirror.