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Sometimes I think physical labor is a lost art.
In our industrialized culture, the development of time-saving and labor-saving technologies has not only made things easier, but in some cases it has eliminated physical effort altogether.
Instead of walking, we drive. Instead of harvesting vegetables from our garden, we have them delivered to our doorstep. Instead of caring for our own property, we hire landscapers so we can spend more time at the office.
After running errands on Saturday morning, my husband and I worked in the yard until dusk. We made repairs to outdoor buildings, hauled mulch and straw, and finished up various other home projects. (Let me tell you, bending and crouching at nearly 40 is much less fun than it was at 20.)
By the end of the day, we were completely exhausted. Everything hurt and we looked like zombies climbing the stairs when it was finally time to head to bed. But we slept like babies.
Oddly, the physical exertion felt good. As much as my body ached, it also felt really good–better than any gym workout I’ve ever experienced. Perhaps it felt good because I also accomplished something of value. Perhaps it was because spending time outside in nature was emotionally therapeutic. Or perhaps it was because it also allowed me to spend some quality time with my husband.
The physical activity made me feel human and reminded me that my body was designed for exertion. It was designed to move, and to accomplish meaningful things.