Lately I have spent my time landscaping, returning home tired, but satisfied. "This is temporary," I tell myself. Each day I am stronger from the labor, and feel younger than I have for over a decade.
Manual labor is an important part of my rejuvenation. Two years of writing or testing code in order to enrich venture capitalists was enervating. This July and August, I sweat out that malaise while cleaning up the gardens of comfortably privileged people, some of them perhaps working in venture capital. This fact is not lost on me. Nor is the class fluidity I enjoy having regularly worked on both sides of the blue collar/white collar divide. In truth that divide is artificial even if the comfortably privileged prefer to set themselves apart in order to self-justify their position with their religious devotion to the myth of meritocracy. The desperate drive to shield oneself with comfort, and privilege is a sign of weakness, surrendering oneself to the capitalist coercion of the job market and the cloying social pressure to belong to America's in-group which defaults to the "white" middle class.
The irony is that I surrendered to capitalist coercion in order to better provide for my family, but lost them anyway. I suppose I returned to my roots working landscape labor in order to heal my wounds. Each day, I cleanse the pain of this from my being while raking, pruning, digging, rooting out vegetal rot. But it is the freedom with which I cross imaginary class boundaries that has most reminded me of who I am. I easily switch between taking orders from the gardener I work with in a mix of spanish and english to speaking like a professional landscape architect with our clients because I am all of these things in addition to my last stint of work developing and/or testing software in Silicon Valley. Being able to do whatever I want, as long as I roll up my sleeves and fully apply myself working through failures toward success, that ability was essential to reclaim for myself. My confidence had been all played out prior to these latest lessons.
The work has also transformed my body. I am reminded of how my body felt before I was married, back when I worked construction, and felt I could do anything. I am older now, but am reminded by my body's daily recovery, that I am still alive.
We are too ready to accept our own demise. I was once told that by a friend of a friend to whom we had delivered a working but discarded hot tub we had reclaimed from a residence on Mount Tam. He was a chiropracter, physical therapist, and masseur. He had a few medical licenses. Many simply call him a healer, or "magic hands".
At the time, I had an injured right wrist from a bicycle accident on Church Street's street car rails in San Francisco, my wrist bones were visibly displaced forming a lump just below the muscle at the base of my thumb. In order to compensate, I had been using a reverse grip and motion while using hand tools, shovels especially. I accepted that my wrist would be fucked up for the rest of my life. My friend's friend repayed me for the hot tub by fixing my wrist. "Don't be so ready to accept your own demise," he said. I am reminded of his words as my body feels rejuvenated by physical work.
The first few weeks of my recent stint in landscaping were difficult. I returned home each day with aching joints, the joints in my hands swollen and stiff, and I spent my evening resting. With each rest I recovered just enough to keep working the next day, and after each day of labor I was exhausted again, joints painfully sore from use. Gradually my rate of recovery has caught up to offset the exhaustion, and I have toughened up. Relearning the art of efficient motion, resting unused muscles while working others, and only applying just enough force to get something done was also essential. My hands are already strong and rough skinned again. That I can recover, that I have regained some of the strength of my youth, these are the facts to remind me that I still have life left in me. I may be older, but I still have a long ways to go until I am dead. Each day I go out and prove it.
All of this said to explain my absence these months. I have not been coding much at all let alone working on the site. My energy level however is rising. I have a few code projects I'd like to finish, rewriting this website to only use node is one of them. I may be getting back to that in the next month so that I can move on to the next batch of things with nothing left behind me undone. I have a new list of things building up in front of me that I would like to get to next.
I just read up over the post. It is a poorly written mess, but I will leave it that way. This is just personal drivel anyway. Time to move on.