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Instead of thinking of the garden as work, do you see it as a time to relax?

The trees are going asleep, Papa,” says Katya, as we watch the descent of another leaf to the ground. Sakura stands and runs over to the gate, bringing back two brooms: “here, Papa, here.” Then Katya retrieves the bucket I use for collecting leaves to bring to the compost pile. Each day I have been sweeping the yard. Ten years ago I was bothered by my wife’s insistence that the yard had to be raked and swept each day, but that was also the time when I was working fourteen hour days. Now, I let my mind go, to feel the experience.

   My wife used to be upset that I did not set out a sprinkler to water the garden. Somehow, she decided that this method of watering was better. One day, she hand watered the yard. Coming back inside, she smiled, “that was the most relaxing time. I understand why you like doing it.” I began hand watering, because I wanted the water to go onto the ground for the roots, instead of on the sidewalk or drive. The time spent watering is relaxing though.
    This morning was so perfect for sweeping. The clouds covered the sky, filtering the light. The breeze rustled the trees, and felt good against the skin. I was happy. My thoughts turned to a conversation that I had the day before, where a person stated that he did not like the work of maintaining the garden. Consequently, he left things undone, since he did not have time for that task. The television was calling, I guess. I see the time that I have in the garden as a time to become centered. We need time to let go.
    A neighbor with a leaf blower disturbs my peace. Get the job done quick. Another person noted that they see me sweeping each day, and that they would not be so concerned. I do like the yard to look nice, but I do have one other motive for my gardening: exercise. I remember the findings of a study from a few years back. People were encouraged to exercise, and gardening was suggested, but it was found that you have to think of the activity as exercise to see any benefit. In fact, housework is exercise, but you will not stay fit unless you think of it as such.
   Maybe it will rain today. No watering needed. However, I could let the water hit the skin; play with the girls in the puddles. We will see if I can convince my much older son to partake in this adventure. I am thankful for my family. My wife will come home from work, and we will spend time with family on this day for giving thanks.