(168): How Can I Hold On to This Early Spring Energy When I’m Dogged with Chronic Pain?

Lovely blue flowers…in someone else’s garden. Image (cropped) by Waldemar Jan via Flickr. License.

There’s something deeply satisfying about taking a midday nap with my two dogs. They each make their own little noises (Yoko snores softly…!), and the comfort of it lulls me into sleep, even when I’m trying to use the time to put down some thoughts in the form of my daily post. I can’t believe I’m almost at the half-year point! (I’ll have to calculate that when more of my brain cells are awake).

This morning, I adhered more to a task schedule that I kept about 10 years ago, although, of course, I didn’t do quite as much and it wore me out completely, to where my legs felt like they were going to collapse under me at any time. I got outside right after the morning dog walkies and dragged a rather heavy rubber hose (actually 3 of them hooked together because yard is huge) to my backyard garden box, which I had prepared all on my lonesome by breaking up some singularly awful soil, sifting and pulling out as much Johnson grass as possible, assassinating some ants, and planting a bunch of flower seeds. (The garden box preparation and seeding took 3 long sessions over about 2–3 weeks.) I spent about 30 minutes watering it.

But wait! That’s not all! I dragged the hose back to the porch and planted a modest array of vegetables: red bell peppers, two kinds of cayennes, something called a Cherokee Heritage tomato (a purple tomato I got at last year’s Farmer’s Market and saved seeds from) and cilantro (I know, not a vegetable). After that, I even re-dragged the hose (I’m not particularly good at labor-saving planning) back down near the backyard box and planted some zinnias in two stone boxes that stand on either side of some stone steps that had become overgrown with clingy weeds and dead grass. So I cleared the steps (as best I could) and washed them down with the hose. I hadn’t seen those steps in years; they’re pretty nice!

Can you tell I’m proud of myself? Nothing tells me that I am part of nature more than the drive to plant a garden and the slight bump in resolve, if not energy, that the dubiously ‘better’ weather in Springtime gives me. I’m not sure why, after several years of utterly neglecting to plant anything, I’ve surged forward with my desire to connect with nature by working the soil. I mean, my back problems are worse than ever; I have to take pain pills and fibromyalgia medicine just to get through the day (and night). You’d think I would be totally demotivated and chronically tired.

The point is, I AM these things. I am often too tired to do anything beyond the basics of housework (feeding the dogs, washing the dishes, maybe the laundry). But when I’m not too tired, it seems a pity not to do something constructive. During the winter, I tried to stay one step ahead of the advancing hoard inside my house, and in the spring, I find that the outdoors calls to me (in small doses). For the first time in years, I want my yard to look good, and I want splashes of colorful flowers and nourishing, pesticide-free food that I grow myself.

I don’t know how long this big push will last. The hardest part, I think, is accepting that there are many days when I won’t be able to make it outside to do anything beyond the absolute necessities. To borrow a metaphor, I’ve got to figure out just how many spoons I will have on a given day and be satisfied with that. I’ve always got to have a spoon for my dogs (I used that spoon making their treats and then walking them again after I finished all this gardening nonsense). I am hoping that, with careful shepherding and strong enough support garments, I can make my Spring push last for a good long time.

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