Well, friends, it’s officially spring. Spring always makes me want to get out in the yard and see what little green tips are pushing up past the dead foliage I didn’t clean up in the fall. I have my reasons – The tree that fell and the insurance claim to repair the damage to the retaining wall that *still* hasn’t been fixed, and the seed pods that I like to leave for the front (and back) yardigans. But this weekend, I pushed aside the limp, dead chives and Lily of the Valley, and sure enough there are the bright green tips. There are Tulips and Hyacinth and Star of Bethlehem pushing through.
So I thought to myself, “Self, maybe we should see what’s happening out in the back yard?”
Good granny, I’ll tell you what’s happening. There’s a 3 inch thick layer of bird seed detritus on my patio at the foot of the broken birdfeeder. And the worst part of the receding snowpack – the snowmelt has excavated the horrifying remains of a winter of dog poop. Oh the humanity! The poop!
And it’s not like I didn’t do *any* poop patrol over the winter. King Louie had taken to pooping in the middle of the driveway because his old, arthritic legs couldn’t navigate the snow drifts to the lawn. We plowed him a path into the yard, and he used that. And when I walk him before bed, he takes care of his business on the walk, so not in the yard at all. And when the snow covered it, then I couldn’t see where he went. Short term problem solved. But man, oh, man it escalates in a hurry.
As I set to work to start the cleanup, I laughed right out loud. Poop Patrol is the perfect metaphor for my Lent work. I spend months denying my bad habits and snarky moods and uncharitable thoughts. I kick the betterment and cleanup effort down the road and come up with excuses to blanket (like snow!) the work I don’t want to do. Eventually, layer by layer, all that denial melts away and I’m left with a shitty minefield of my own making. And it stinks.
It took months to get to this situation, but until it’s all laid bare in front of me, I didn’t realize the extent of it. I guess it’s always a rude awakening when you have an honest look at a mess you’ve made all by yourself. Whether it’s the winter weight you’ve gained or the strained relationship that’s crumbling because of your inaction or the honey-do list that you manage to dance around for weeks and weeksandweeks… eventually you need to take a hard look at the reality of your situation and either decide that you are OK with the mess you made, or make plans and take steps to make it better.
So I started the epic poop patrol. I did about 15 minutes of work on the ground that wasn’t too soggy. Today, when King Louie was out on lunch time perimeter march, I ventured out a little further into the lawn. A few more perimeter marches (or a dedicated hour or two) and we’ll be back to useful yard status.
This Lent, may I make a good examination of conscience to see where I’ve turned a blind eye to the accumulating crap in my heart and soul, too.
I’ve created landing pages for the last 3 years of Lent Project. You can access them from the Reflections Projects option in the menu bar. Happy reading, friends!