For several days the weather has been bright, sunny, and in the 60s. Perfect for working outside. Everything is still brown and dormant. It’s easy to see all the problems.

The frost-heaved fence posts. The fallen trees and broken branches that have to be collected and dragged to the burn pile. The sagging snow fence that has to be pulled, rolled, and stored away. The mud holes. The overgrown gardens. The rocks everywhere!


Every year at this season I long desperately to have a solid week to spend outdoors, getting a jump on the chores before the land turns green and the weeds and blackberry brambles swarm up to take over, hiding and complicating everything.

But I am Tantalus and no matter how much I yearn, this vision always eludes me. Every year I face the reality that spring is my busiest teaching season and I have no time. Now, with the need to walk the dogs for an hour after work, I have less time than ever.

As the dogs and I cross the back field to the state trails, I do my best to take mental notes for my list.


Now that it’s light so early, though, I’m considering trying to squeeze in the dog walk at 7 AM, so that in the afternoon I can buckle down.


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