At 7:56 last night, I sat down and glanced at the clock.
7:56. I was sitting down for just a moment, but at that moment I felt like it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to avoid getting up again all evening.
But then Holly called from the shower that she needed a towel, and the dog looked like a trip outside for her might not be a bad idea, and I remembered that the clothes needed to be moved from washing machine to dryer.
It was a busy day. I arose early to write my usual one thousand words of Morning Pages. I decoded the problem I was having syncing my Google calendar with my new phone. And though the peace and quiet of the household with everyone else still asleep was blissful, I headed out for a four-mile run.
“Tell me one thing: why do we have to exercise?” a man who looked to be in his sixties and was out for a walk near the state park called out to me as I approached him.
“Funny you should ask; we were talking about that just this weekend,” I told him, which was true. “It’s because we don’t do manual labor! If we were out working in the fields all day, we wouldn’t go running!”
I finished my run and made waffles for the kids’ breakfast. Then I cleaned up the kitchen and took a shower and headed to my friend Jane’s house. She and another friend and I did a 45-minute walk in the warm midday sunlight and talked about how odd it was to have a sixty-degree November day just two weeks after an October snowstorm.
I drove back home and put in a load of laundry and swept the floors. I welcomed a new friend of Holly’s who came over to play. I figured out what to make for the next several dinners and made up a grocery list. Then it was time to go grocery shopping.
Home from the supermarket, I tried to unload groceries, talk on the phone to my mother, and make dinner all at the same time. It took a while, but I succeeded, more or less. I made meatloaf and baked potatoes stuffed with a steamed broccoli mixture, and it was one of those rare evenings when everyone not only sat down together (that’s not the rare part) but ate what was offered.
It wasn’t an unusually strenuous day. As I told the man who was out for a walk while I was running, it’s not like we were working in the fields. Or performing surgery. Or piloting a steamship or keeping a spaceship in orbit. It was just regular weekend life.
And it’s wonderful. I love all of these things: running by myself, walks with friends, cooking, taking care of the house, being with my family.
Still, I felt decadent submitting to inertia at 7:56 while Holly took a shower. But I couldn’t help it. The days are full. Still, every aspect of it had meant something to me. Fellowship. Parenthood. Nourishment. Physical well-being.
Days like this seem mundane sometimes. They aren’t the ones we remember, the way we remember vacation days or parties, say. They are just….days full of weekend-day type things.
But I wouldn’t have taken away a single part of it. Even if by 7:56 I was ready to give up on all mobility for the rest of the evening.
Yes, I was worn out, although I managed to rally enough to do what else needed to be done before bed: tucking in Holly, letting the dog out again, locking the front door. Despite not having been toiling at any kind of manual labor, I went to sleep with that invaluable sense of having done a good day’s work. Even if I have no material harvest to show for it.