Few things provide instant gratification like yard work.  Notice I did not say gardening, since that implies growing something.  I mean actual weed pulling, mowing, trimming – yard work that leaves you a little achy from bending and hauling.

I wage war on weeds.   Judging from the fact that they return, one might believe that the weeds are winning.  Never the less, I take a sharp, narrow trowel and dig up as much of the unwanted dandelion root as possible – only in and around the planter beds.  If I did this in the entire yard there would be nothing left to call a lawn.  But after a little of this therapeutic digging, I have at least won the battle.

I can look over the yard and see that the beds are weed free and the edges are clean.

Some of the only remaining blooms of summer.

Some of the only remaining blooms of summer.

There are no unkempt tufts of grass around the tree trunks, or unruly dead branches poking out from shrubs.  This time spent manicuring parts of the yard leads to a much needed sense of accomplishment.  It’s such a good feeling to know that you have worked at something and, at least temporarily, succeeded.  The results are tangible.  You can see them.

During a normal week I spend at least eight hours a day, five days a week, at a job where I juggle multiple projects, phone calls, emails, and whatever minor crisis has arisen.  It can take weeks or even months to actually complete a project.  So a sense of achievement in my work world is rare indeed.

Feeling like you have done something productive is the very nature of accomplishment.  Clearly, I need to seek this in other aspects of my life.  This type of success is a high priority.  It is only through completion and attainment that we make a positive contribution.  Without it, where is the sense of purpose and worth?  What is our value?

So many small projects lead to that fleeting feeling that we have done something of merit.  For me it can be sewing, a household task, or yard work.  In life, we seek a greater level of accomplishment:  solid relationships, a strong family, spirituality, conviction.

Perhaps the life lesson is that hard work leads to gratification.  Just as we clean up the last vestiges of summer from the yard, we seek to tidy up the weeds in life during this autumn season.  This may be the time to yank out the unwanted growth by its roots to allow the more precious greenery to bloom.  I’m still a bit unsure of what may be waiting to flower.   But one thing is clear.  I’ll need a bigger trowel.


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