By Keith Fisher
Twenty years ago, I lived for Saturdays. It was my special day. Weekdays were okay and Sundays were great because I could worship, serve, and rest. But Saturday was the day I could do my thing. I enjoyed camping, fishing, and extra curricular activities but most of all I loved yard work.
My routine was great until other things began to take over my Saturdays. I started planning family reunions, teaching Dutch oven cooking, and cooking for groups. Yard work got shuffled to the back burner. Although I enjoyed the other things, I felt the pangs of regret when I saw the weeds in my lawn. I started referring to my once beautiful garden, as a "weed patch" and I kept promising that next year it would be better.
Recently, on Saturday morning I woke up and bolted out the door. I had a free morning so I planned to try and salvage my "weed patch". After mowing the weeds and testing the sprinkler system, I started with the easy jobs. I discovered my yard needed far more than one day to get it back into shape but I was working on it.
Far too soon, I had to put my tools away. I remembered a prior commitment. Before getting ready, I sat at my desk to make some phone calls and eat my sandwich. Of course, I turned on the computer and opened Word as always. Glancing at my project folders brought to mind the scene I‘ve been planning. "It’ll only take a few minutes," I said.
I was in heaven. The words were flowing from my fingertips faster than my mind could formulate them. I had reached a state of nirvana that I dream about, but can’t quite reach during my usual writing time.
It was beautiful. The things my characters were saying amazed me. They were solving their own problems and neurosis’. I was having a great day. Then, I remembered my appointment. With sweet sorrow I dragged myself away from my desk and rushed to one of those other things I mentioned above.
I began to wonder if the yard work is really that important to me. If I could write every Saturday, as well as I did the other day, who cares if my lawn grows to be four feet tall? Maybe I could schedule my life so I could write on Saturday morning. Of course as some friends have pointed out, I would probably get a visit from the lawn police.
Then I discovered a connection. Maybe the yard work had the effect of clearing out the cobwebs in my brain.
I thought about my weekdays and how I come home from work and try to write after a long day of filling my brain with cobwebs.
"Aha," I said. "Maybe if I schedule my yard work for an hour before I write . . ." You know where I’m going with this. I can have my cake and eat it to. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Even if it doesn’t help me to be a better writer, it’s better than having the neighbor’s Virginia Creeper vine take over my house.
(Note: I wrote this in advance and as I post it this morning I have to postpone my yard work due to rain and colder weather. Perhaps I can clean out the basement storage? No, that would be too scary. I heard there are things growning down there.)