I can still remember the day Tilly arrived, the only package on that huge freight truck, how they got something that big and that heavy into a cardboard box is a real mystery to me. There she was all shiny red and black, not a spec of dust on her. Now she has a few dents and dings, she has churned up a lot of earth and a lot of potatoes that escaped the spading fork. Her paint is scratched, and even when she is spit-polish clean and ready to be put away for the she doesn't shine anymore. Yeah, she is sorta like me.
Sorta like me only I wear the work boots, the same ones I bought a a going out of business sale a couple of decades ago, about the same time I bought Tillly.
They have lasted so long, maybe because they were well made, but may-be because they only get used when I till. I prefer to believe that it is that pride and quality of old fashioned craftsmanship.
There are always plans and intentions, when the snow covers the ground. But when spring finally comes the first taste of fresh produce green onions and potatoes overlooked from last year comes to the table, it is time to put those often unrealisable plans into action. Spading takes a little longer each year, but it is time to think and time to enjoy the world around me. A time to reflect. and be grateful. Tilly, who is also a bit harder to start grinds those clumpy shovel fulls of earth into a smooth surface, pleasing to look at, like a Zen garden of raked stones.
Sitting on the steps, after we are done, I peel off my boots and socks with dirt firmly ground into and staining them and look back across our work, I feel an overwhelming sense of calm , satisfaction and connection. I also dread messing up that beautiful pattern in the dirt with footprints by taking the compost out and burying it.
Me and Tilly we are growing old and cranky together, mature and determined, awestruck and happy; enjoying and rejoicing in every minute of it.