Thievery ... a reflection


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.


  1. I have a tendency to do the comparison thing, trying to break the habit- every time I do it now an alarm goes off in my head

  2. I totally LOVE this post!! Sometimes we are trying so hard to fit in or 'prove' ourselves that we forget to take joy in who we actually are and as far as that goes we miss joy in who others have become. For we each have our strengths and our weaknesses and we are each different, with different circumstances. Does an orange feel badly that it will never be the deep red of the apple? As we protect ourselves from outside forces we sometimes tend to withdraw into ourselves, thus putting us into a prison of sorts. Time to break out...

  3. love the photos & reflection Christi & know that tamping tool too well although it's been many years since I have used one, good on you! I love being so old that all those niggling things like what people think about how I look, what I do & how I think simply don't matter any more, it's time to just make the art, get it out and cherish the friends that are still with us!

  4. I do my best thinking when I'm weeding. Perhaps because I feel one with the Universe when close to the ground, and nurturing the desired growth, while saving the scrap for the compost. I have ALWAYS known my value in my career. Others compared themselves to me. I always helped them to raise themselves to a higher level of confidence, never worrying about job security. BUT, when it came to my creative abilities..now there was another story. It took me a long time to look for my own nitch and style and not to compare myself to other's abilities, but to use their skill as inspiration. Sadly, some never learn the lesson. I once posted a picture of beaded stitching I did. I was so proud of it...I loved the memories it conjured. Someone commented that it was primitive but pretty. That comment caused pain and I withdrew. One day the light bulb went off...it is rather primitive and that's OK. That does not mean it's not beautiful.

    Good post Christi. I'm glad I didn't see myself in your thoughts about your friends.

    Merry Christmas
    xx, Carol

  5. Christi , i would comment ,but difficult to come after , very well written and as always the good pictures

  6. I love this post Christi. Everything about it. Your thought-fullness, your hard work, the description of your tamper, your process, your photos, and this quote. It reminds me of a book, Joy' Way, by Dr. Brugh Joy, where he coins what he calls the three injunctions, or keys to happiness. They are #1: Make no Comparisons, #2: Make no Judgements, and #3: Delete the need to Understand. Yup. Wonderful post.

  7. What a beautiful reflective post Christi.
    How sad people do things like that to themselves .... I'm not like that. Not that
    I don't compare my work with that of others, but the result doesn't hinder me to
    just go on. I know lots of people who make "better" stuff than I do, but it's just
    too good to be creative. Wouldn't miss it for the world ;-)
    All the best with your potholes and lovely warm holidays.
    (ahhhh that indigo knitted shawl : gorgeous .... with beads ! (of course, ha !)

  8. A lovely, thoughtful post, Christi! Oh, but to give the confidence, to those that need it so badly!

  9. it would be tempting to keep the potholes..their reflective abilities are Stunning.
    truly WonderFULL thoughts...

  10. I need to go fill my pot holes. :) This shines with truth.

  11. enamored
    as I am of mudpuddles
    and I thoroughly enjoyed your collection,
    yes their reflective abilities,
    mirroring the trees reaching to the heavens...
    I happily walk my pot-holed road daily
    and love outdoor physical work
    yes - what she said...
    THIS is a wonderful post!

    many thanks and happy holidays to you!!

  12. Such good thoughts and words, Christi. Taming our self-criticalness is so un-easy. I'm hearing "fixing a hole where the rain gets in..." (can't seem to copy the link...) Beautiful photos...thank you for it all! and may the holidays be good to you...xoxo,s.

  13. I want to say to everyone who stopped by here & left such good thoughts and kind words .... THANK YOU. When I first sat down to write this post the words came flooding out. The pictures fell into place as if by destiny. It wasn't until I went to click the "Publish" button that I grew nervous .... wondering, should I say so much, reveal so much? Acknowledging the fact that I may have grown to be more of an introvert than I ever would have imagined in these later years, I still wriggle around in the uncomfortableness that comes with divulging what I feel to the whole wide internet world. I gulped. I clicked anyway. But then you all came by, joined in, added so much. Again may I say, thank you.

    Wishing the happiest of holidays to all !

  14. Ah, such inspiration here ... enough to get me out the door to repair my own path and await whatever insights might come