I think I can keep up with the 71 year olds who are my crew. But I truly cannot.

I arranged rocks in the gabions for about 45 minutes yesterday morning. It was hot (87F/31C) in the sun and the work was hard. My heart started beating its experimental jazz rhythms, which at first feels like “I need some water and a short break” but soon feels like “I’m not okay to drive” and then “I have to sleep this off, right now.” I waited in the shade of the barn until lunchtime – fortunately a client and I were having a conversation in e-mail, so I kept myself occupied – and then carefully drove home and had a nap.

I returned later in the afternoon, but only moved three rocks, watched the work and learned how the stones have to be set in the cages, then made a plan to cut the grass today.

I have to admit that I am the 555 mascot and not a full member of the team. I am disappointed but not surprised. That’s often been my role through life – cheerful outsider and supporter.

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Mediatinker, Kristen McQuillin, is an American-born resident of Japan since 1998. This blog chronicles her life, projects, thoughts and small adventures.