Pressing the Limits

Garden Plot with Kale and Peppers

Garden Plot with Kale and Peppers

For the first time in a long time I missed work on Wednesday.

After a futile attempt to shave, shower and drive into the home, farm and auto supply store, I called off and slept until 2 p.m. β€” a total of 19 hours in bed.

I’m back to normal and scheduled four days vacation at the end of the month. If approved, I will use the time to catch up around the house and rest.

I don’t want to admit it, but 100 days of work may have been too much to attempt.

In an effort to understand low wage work life and the exigencies of lives where there is not enough income, I dealt with it as many do by adding more jobs. A predictable conclusion has been it doesn’t resolve the issue.

A key driver in the financial shortfall is buying health insurance, an expense that takes 34 percent of my wages from a full-time job. As the two of us approach Medicare age we’ll see some relief. We’ll also be approaching full retirement and presumably slowing our outside work. I look to my maternal grandmother’s example: she did alterations into her eighties. I expect to be doing something to earn money as long as I’m physically able. My current work on area farms is setting the stage for that.

Trying not to complain, these are observations about a life. In the spirit of Cotton Mather I’ve self-inoculated to see what happens. While believing in unlimited potential of a human, the brief illness is evidence of a physical limit. Knowing one’s limits will make us stronger and hopefully more effective.

We are well into the apple harvest at the u-pick orchard where I spend my weekends. It is an abundant crop and I enjoy interacting with hundreds of apple pickers each day. It is something like a fair, about which Garrison Keillor wrote in the Washington Post this week.

“The Fair is an escape from digitology and other obsessions, phobias and intolerances,” Keillor wrote, “also a vacation from the presidential election which has obsessed many people I know, including myself.”

The lone evidence of politics I spotted at the orchard last weekend was a single too-young-to-vote teen wearing a Trump T-shirt. Discussion of politics was completely absent within my hearing. I don’t know the demographics of apple pickers except from my own observations over the last four seasons. What I’d say is apple culture is an equalizer, something almost everyone with transportation can take part in and one in which I am happy to participate.

For me, it’s about forgetting a life that’s challenging and sometimes too hard for a shift at a time. It’s also about hope that society will find common ground.

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