"Humble labors help when my mind becomes overwrought, when my thoughts stop being good company and start chasing each other’s tails. I have learned then to turn to concrete tasks, the simpler the better: washing dishes, mending clothes, paring apples, folding laundry, wiping crumbs, dusting shelves, peeling garlic, emptying trash, stirring sauce, shoveling snow, sweeping. Physical work returns me to the essential parameters of my body: its limitations and its modest usefulness. I take solace in being reminded of my own insignificance.
—Leah Hager Cohen, author of The Grief of Others (Riverhead Books, 2011)