Last fall I was overworked and didn't quite get around to raking leaves in the backyard. "They'll mulch" was the way I rationalized it. Well, by the following spring they were still there, and the lawn ended up with huge brown patches. Worse, I spent the whole winter being annoyed whenever I walked by the leaves, which got mushier and mushier with every snowfall and melt.
I've been reading about Victorian women's autobiographies and how they fall into the categories of the domestic memoir and the professional memoir. The earlier Victorians embraced domesticity; the later generations were more feminist and hoped to escape the bonds of the home. That tension feels very much alive when I find myself choosing between work and chores around the house. All I know is, I left the library at 3 pm today and spent the rest of my Sunday afternoon raking leaves. It felt nice to be outside. It was overcast, like deepest winter, but about 60 degrees and breezy, and of course there were no bugs. I raked until well after dark.
No professional gain or public acclaim will result from the way I spent my afternoon. But I couldn't care less. It made me happy.