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GARDEN GIRL: From Yard Work to Yard Therapy, Finding Peace Behind the Lawnmower

During my childhood, weekends were synonymous with hours spent toiling in the yard alongside my dad. This responsibility often meant giving up adventures with neighborhood friends and cherished Saturday morning cartoons. At the time, it was perplexing why my dad, a drywall construction worker, viewed yard work as a reprieve from his daily labor; it seemed like a trade of one form of strenuous work for another.

Fast forward four decades, and I've gained a newfound appreciation for the retreat and relaxation my father found in the yard. With my workweek primarily confined to a computer screen for 50-60 hours, I now willingly devote my weekends to tasks like tending to my flowerbeds, spreading mulch, and removing weeds under the unforgiving sun.

In the realm of work, the saying "one man's weed is another man's wildflower" holds true. What might appear as laborious and draining to others becomes a source of stress relief for me. Let me clarify – I'm far from being a lawn doctor or a gardening expert. If anything, my past experiences have often been quite the opposite. Last summer, I managed to single-handedly transform our once-lush green front yard into what could only be described as a patch of solid gold in just twenty-four hours. It was a disaster of epic proportions that I will share in another Garden Girl commentary.

Yet, the answer to my seemingly masochistic choice lies in the profound sense of peace and satisfaction that comes from seeing a task through to completion. One of the most rewarding aspects of yard work is the almost immediate gratification it offers. Unlike the lengthy timelines of following a news cycle or crafting intricate communication strategies that can take months to yield results, mowing the grass or spreading mulch provides instant visual transformation and satisfaction.

While the tools I employ today are far more advanced than those my dad once used, including electric gadgets that would have left him chuckling, there's one item I keep around as a reminder of him – the old gas lawnmower. It serves as a nostalgic link to his simpler tools and is my little tribute to him that, after all these years, I understand why yard work isn't work.


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