Saturday, 24 May 2014

RX for Tired

This is the week after the month that was. And I am tired. It was a good month, full of good things like a trip, grandkids, quilt projects, the garden, social engagements, and everyday stuff. But now I find myself, temporarily, on a downslide. I am tired.

The resident sweetie has heard me whining about this all week long. Wisely he says, “You’ve been working hard on your quilts. Give yourself a break. Take it easy.” Then, whistling, he takes up his hoe and goes to the garden for his walkabout and his daily hoe-hoe-hoe exercise. He gets great pleasure out of decapitating those pesky weeds.

The garden in April, neat and tidy because you-know-who is taking good care of it.

I think he’s on to something. For him, this gardening work is mostly fun. He loses himself in the greenery, checking out his mason bee houses, the latest growth spurt of the potatoes, the taste of that one lonely asparagus spear waiting to be eaten. “Come on out,” he invites me. But when I go out, I only see seed packets waiting, tulips that are ready to be lifted, dahlias that are sprouting in the garage, crying out to be planted. There was a time when these tasks would make my heart sing, but the time is not now.

As I’m noodling my way through this downer, I think of something I’ve just watched on my computer, a live-streamed seminar on crows. Trust the crows to give me a message that I’m needing right now.  (You can watch it too, if you log onto

In this seminar, Dr. Kevin Mc Gowan, a Cornell University researcher, talks about basic crow personality. He says lots of people hate crows, citing what they believe to be true: crows eat baby birds, they destroy crops, they’re mean. He tells the true facts about each of these ‘myths’ – and then he says, “What’s not to love about these birds? They’re real party animals – they love beer and pizza! And have you ever watched them play?”

Ah, yes, play! Play is an important part of a crow’s life. Crows wind-surf in rising air currents, they play tug of war with each other, they slide down snowbanks on bottle lids, mischievously pull a dog’s tail and then run like mad just out of reach of his chain; they pull underwear off clotheslines, take sunbaths, swing upside down from a tree branch. They gather for parties, band together as a flash mob, and lure unwary dogs with fake whistles. All of these
 ways of playing and more have been documented on video or in scientific journals. (See, for instance, this 40 second clip of a crow in the snow: Crows also build nests, raise families, chase off predators, go grocery shopping, etc. – the normal stuff of a life –  but when they have an opportunity to play, they go for it.

And I realize that this joyful, carefree way of living is lacking in my life right now. We adults take life so seriously, don’t we? And that’s not always good. When we do play, it’s often planned: a fully booked holiday, an organized potluck, a competitive game of some kind that we hope we’ll win. Whatever happened to that inner child that used to laugh out loud at the craziest things, who went zooming down the hill on her bike with her heart in her throat, who played hide-and-go-seek in long grass, or danced with abandon?

Hmm. Speaking of dancing, there’s a family dance on Saturday afternoon sponsored by the school my grandchildren attend. Maybe I should go. The outer, responsible adult says to the inner child, “Oh, but, first you should do your gardening, and bake a cake for the potluck, and sweep the floor.” My inner child almost caves. And then she stamps her foot and says, “You’re not going to be the boss of me. I’m going!”
And I did -- that's me in the blue shirt, doing my do-si-do while the RS was doing his hoe-hoe-hoe.
“The world is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper,” said that cynic Bertrand Russell. My wits have grown dull and tired from too much should and ought. It is playtime. Will it matter so much if the flowers get planted on Monday instead of Saturday? Will someone trip over the dustbunnies gathering under the sofa? And if my cake comes from Superstore instead of my oven, will I die of shame? No, no, and yet again no.

One of the things I love about writing this blog is that I learn much that helps me work out a few kinks in my life. I figure if I have the kinks, somebody out there amongst my 14 readers must be afflicted too. And will my 14 readers be terribly disappointed if I don’t create a piece of art to illustrate this blog, just because I was busy playing?

I don’t think so!

In the interests of full disclosure, I must confess that I baked the cake, instead of buying it at Superstore. What can I say? The protestant work ethic ingrained within me doesn’t die easily. But the good news is, I licked the beaters and the bowl till my face was covered with the yummy batter. It’s progress, agreed?


  1. Such timing! You just made me feel a whole lot better. Here I was wondering why I couldn't 'get to it' when I finally have the time after a busy busy month. Thanks. I feel better now.

  2. Play with my blessing, Gayle. You deserve it!

  3. Just discovered your blog--delightful!