Friday, April 26, 2024

Bucking & Mucking


Until my husband got me a battery-operated chainsaw, I only knew the word “bucking” in the context of “bucking a trend.” Apparently, one also bucks fallen tree limbs—as in, cuts them into chunks. Which is weirdly fun. The photo shows the first logs I bucked. 

Mucking, I knew. Before the chainsaw, I spent late winter mucking around in the gully that becomes our second, seasonal creek after heavy rains. This year, it ran with white water, turning the field into a floody-muddy mess, because previous owners had once laid weed barrier down there for some reason. The nasty plastic stuff had blocked clumps of earth from moving with the water. (Ironically, oodles of weeds had grown through the barrier, effectively anchoring it even more securely into the soil.) I forgot to take a photo of all the woven black goop I pulled from the earth. Probably just as well: I’m happy to forget it. 


Spring finds me with less poetry of words and more poetry of earth—of paying attention to wood grain and water flow. Yet always with a bit of etymology….


Bucking means to oppose or resist. It’s literally and metaphorically going against the grain. Mucking, as a transitive verb, basically means to move mud: mud is the object. But as an intransitive verb—with no object—it means to hang around, to engage in a useless activity. 


So, technically, my object-less title implies resistance and useless activity! Ah, but the creative life needs both. Paying attention to our resistance helps us know where to press in. And what can look a waste of time is often the necessary tilling of our spirit-fields. Maybe we’d be wise to do some bucking and mucking inside as well as out. Also, maybe we can let more “weeds” be. The dandelions of life are rich in vitamins…and rich in that most vital of life lessons: that we can’t control everything!


Here’s to knowing what to buck & muck, and what to leave be.


Happy Spring,





No comments: