Archives for category: gardening

I’ve been in pain most of the weekend. Most of the day. Not struggling with it, you understand, just aware of it, in the background, an occasional and persistent distraction, something to be dismissed, acknowledged, dismissed again. The day wore on. The pain wears me down.

There is more to my experience than the pain I am in.

It’s harder to be aware of hurting when I’m distracted by the antics of my squirrel neighbors. I spent a merry time doing that, instead of hurting. πŸ™‚ Totally worth it.

Later, tickled by a brief back and forth exchange with my Traveling Partner, I reached for my headphones and lost myself in music. More time passes during which I don’t really notice any moment of hurting. Relief doesn’t always require a prescription. My results vary. There are definitely verbs involved.

I feel myself smiling, thinking back over the very pleasant, restful weekend – is it already Sunday? Damn. Work tomorrow. I think about the exceptional chocolate I tried this weekend and pause to send a surprise treat “home” to be shared (seriously, so good). The weekend feels more complete having found some way to share this pleasant detail.

My neighbors aren’t home this evening. The bass shakes the floor and I dance into the living room to pick up borrowed buugeng to practice awhile, listening to this music I love. The bass rumbles through my body, and I feel connected to a home a couple hundred miles away, where, most likely, the bass is shaking the house right now, there, too. I smile with my whole self, feeling contented and serene. This is a fine moment right here, I make a point to enjoy it right now.

Tomorrow will be soon enough to begin other projects, another week, a new journey, right now, this moment here is enough. πŸ™‚

I had recently noticed that something’s been digging in my container garden. I know the squirrels, who are regular visitors, are likely suspects; I’ve seen them bury acorns in those same containers, so perhaps they’ve also been digging them up? Seems a safe enough assumption. It’s still just an assumption. If I hang on to that assumption long enough, it becomes a belief. As a belief, it sits in my head guiding my expectations of things to come. I expect, eventually, to see a squirrel digging up acorns from those pots, naturally.

A succulent garden in a large pot, thoroughly dug up, peanut shells littering the ground, carelessly left behind by a visitor.

Funny thing about “reality”; it isn’t at all what we imagine, or assume, or expect it to be. It is what it is. (What it’s made of is a lofty topic for other days, and fancy experts, I can’t do it justice, here.) I happened to be relaxing with a cup of decaf, considering the afternoon ahead, and spotted movement on the deck out of the corner of my eye. Squirrels? Not quite squirrel like. And tiny. I turn slowly and watch carefully, waiting… waiting… waiting… My eyes adjust to the “pattern” of the container garden on the deck – there it is. A new visitor, or at least one I haven’t spotted before – a chipmunk. An actual chipmunk has come up onto the deck (which exists on the same level as the single level residence in which I make my home, but from the back of the house, would be “the second floor”, because the property slopes considerably). I sit and watch the chipmunk. The chipmunk darts here and there, behind pots, over pots, between pots, watching me. There is no opportunity to get my new camera, but my phone is at hand. I don’t reach for it right away, I just watch.

My chipmunk visitor pauses perched on a pot.

That’s when I spotted it, a snapshot of a reality I don’t generally see; the chipmunk is my digging visitor. My little visitor hopped up to the lip of first one pot, then another, and just dug like crazy, leaving pock-marked soil, divots, and craters behind. The chipmunk was digging up the peanuts the squirrels had recently buried and eating them, one by one. There’s even a chance it’s been happening right in front of me – the little chipmunk’s camouflage is very good. I sat and watched a good while longer, until my little visitor left.

Some movement startles the chipmunk, which grabs one last peanut and darts away.

I end up sitting quietly for some minutes, contemplating the ease with which I assumed the squirrels to be responsible for the “bad acts” of the wee chipmunks, who I hadn’t considered at all – because I didn’t know they would come up onto the deck in the first place, having never seen that behavior. I was limited by my lack of knowledge, and my reasoning was impaired by my assumptions. It’s worth thinking about. It’s worth getting all “meta” with that experience and recognizing the damage I potentially do to myself and to my relationships to allow unverified assumptions to become beliefs which inform my expectations and guide my decision-making. There’s something greater to understand in that, something that matters. I sip my coffee and stare into the rain.

I sigh contentedly. I don’t need more from this moment. This is enough.

 

Fucking hell, this is some real shit, right here.

I woke early – 3:38 am – no alarm. Had to pee, not an uncommon mammalian or primate thing at all, it happens. I wasn’t awake enough, quite, to realize that this moment would cascade into other small unpleasant experiences, like dominoes toppling, each less comfortable than the previous moment leading to it. Having to pee was easy to resolve… then it was all about my sinuses draining… then I became aware of the headache… my pounding heart… the breathless feeling… Why the hell was I “holding my breath” like that in the first place??? Right. Pain. I’m betting it was actually the pain that woke me, because as it turned out, I really didn’t have to pee that badly, certainly not badly enough to wake me from a deep sleep. It is, perhaps, habitual to immediately head in that direction if I wake during the night, at all. lol

Fuck, I am in so much pain, already, today. It’s not yet actually even time to begin the day. :-\ The world is quiet, and there is no sound of traffic, or the existence of humanity beyond this keyboard, and this monitor, right here. It is just now 4:30 am, on a Saturday morning. I could be sleeping… if I were not awake. I hurt too much to feel sleepy. I may as well begin the day… for some values of “beginning”. I made coffee. 0_o

Realizing, after the first sip, that coffee does not, in any way, address pain, and pain being, in fact, the issue at hand, I drop an ice-cube in my coffee and let it melt on my way to the shower, and chug it before I step under the steamy hot water…

…A shower, some yoga, and yes, actually, another shower after that… and generous application of medical cannabis (both as a topical balm, where I can reach painful places, and vaporized)… I make coffee number two, and sit down to write, hopeful that I may find adequate relief without reaching for an Rx pain reliever. 5:52 am. Still far earlier than today needed to begin. lol Fuck – how is this much pain even a thing? Is this really fucking necessary? I know I have arthritis – what fucking help is all this pain?? What could it possibly be telling me that has any value, at all? Damn. Well… the coffee, the yoga and the shower eased the headache pain. That’s something. No headache. I pause to sip my coffee and appreciate that for a long moment. I do not have a headache, right now. Nice. I’ll take it.

Next? Distraction. Cognitive trickery – totally fair game, and a worthy practice. πŸ™‚

Yesterday was lovely. I did not shop. I did not buy. I chilled at home, mostly just looking out onto the deck, sipping coffee, or tea, or reading a book. I’ve been somewhat disappointed since I moved in to see creatures so seldom. I mean, I’ve seen bunnies, chipmunks, squirrels, a rather large raccoon, but birds have been fairly rare, aside from seeing them fly by now and then. The one squirrel visitor who seemed to be regular was only interested in the bird seed I had hoped would be, you know, for the birds. lol I switched to putting out a small dish of whole peanuts, on an irregular basis, and an ear of dried corn in a hanging feeder that the squirrel could more safely get to. I haven’t seen the squirrel back, but the dish has often been quickly emptied, and the cob stripped far faster than I had expected, fairly often. Yesterday, spending hours just watching (and hours that are generally spent in the office, far away), I finally got to see how things go, here on the deck. Apparently, things don’t get going until around 11 am, in the late autumn.

A beautiful Steller’s Jay stopped by for a peanut… or… several. lol

I watched the jay coming and going for quite a while. Then, a female jay joined him. Then, a pair of robins stopped by, not interested in the peanuts, but feeling safe to check out the soil in all the pots for tasty things. A hummingbird snacked on each remaining blossom in the garden, which is to say, some nasturtiums in the hanging baskets, and some blooms left on Baby Love, a miniature rose that doesn’t appear to give a damn about the season, and blooms almost year round. A small woodpecker visited a tree just beyond the deck, and the hawk I often hear circling overhead took a seat in a tree top within view. I sat, delighted, for an hour or two (or more…?).

I sat long enough, aware, and patiently observing, to begin spotting dens, nests, burrows, and bowers.

It was time well spent. It was just at the moment I first considered getting up to go “do something” that my last visitor came around.

…my squirrel visitor is nibbling on my tarragon…

I sit quietly, sneaking an occasional picture, hoping not to startle the squirrel, who still seems very shy. Eventually, my wee visitor makes its way to the corn feeder, first checking the empty dish for peanuts (the jays got them all).

…I’m glad to know for sure the squirrel knows the feeder is there. πŸ™‚

The sinking sun was already beginning to change the color of the forest beyond the deck. I smile to myself to see that I’ve used the word “forest”, even now that I can so clearly see it’s really only a strip of trees, a bit of grass, and then the backs of all the houses another street over. lol Those Big Leaf Maples really provide a dense wall of greenery in spring and summer, quite delightfully private.

There are things to love about this place and time. It is worth being here, now.

…And… It’s worked. A bit of distraction, lingering on the recollection of something quite pleasant, looking through the pictures, sharing it with you, in words, here… I don’t hurt as much. I’ve had a chance to benefit from the yoga, the shower, and taking medication. My consciousness isn’t saturated in information to do with pain, or sensations of it. I can move on with the day, and maybe fairly comfortably. It’s not magic. There are verbs involved. My results vary. But… today it is enough, and I can begin again. πŸ™‚

 

 

The concert Friday night was amazing. My ears were still ringing well into the afternoon, yesterday.

I’d had plans to hang out with a friend in the afternoon, yesterday. He messaged considerately early and alerted me he had a conflict. That worked out well; I had quite a bit of housekeeping I wanted to get done, and the result of the uninterrupted time to play house was that I nearly wiped out my list, and even had time to do a bit of grocery shopping. πŸ™‚

The world lost a major chunk of what moved me during my high school years; I read that Malcolm Young of AC/DC had died. I didn’t weep, but I sat a long while listening to the songs I loved then, first several AC/DC tracks that had been my own favorites, then as the morning wore on, random tracks that I loved from those years. It was more fun than tragic, more nurturing than grieving. I enjoyed those songs then, they generally still appeal to me now, though I listen to very different stuff these days, most of the time.

The Thanksgiving holiday ahead of me continues to take shape. I contentedly plan and act on plans, and move through time moment by moment.

I only now notice that I didn’t write yesterday. I smile at the thought of a day so rich in moments that there seemed no suitable moment – or need – to write at all.

A misty autumn morning

It is another day. There are more moments. I woke to a misty autumn morning after a restless night. I slept in. I woke surprised at the lateness of the hour, when I finally woke. I opened the curtains, surprised again to see the sliver of forest adjacent to the deck filled with mist. There are fewer bright autumn leaves clinging to the trees, and more of them on the deck itself. I remind myself to sweep them off, again. The bird bath on the deck rail was partially frozen over; winter is near.

A partially frozen bird bath

It’s time to live in these next moments ahead. I wonder what they hold? I know there are at least opportunities to begin again, and to practice being the human being I most want to be. πŸ™‚ I think I’ll go do those things…

I woke to the alarm. My coffee this morning is a tasty Americano. I am wrapped in modest comfort, and feel safe, cared-for, and content. It’s a nice start to a Wednesday.

I hadn’t been up long before I started feeling that weird nagging sensation that is my half-aware recognition that there’s something I meant to do… right. Chickens. I mean, I’d said I would send my chicken references to Her. (Damn, She really needs a better nickname here…) I was delighted to hear her say she’d like to have chickens (me too!!). It felt like a connection, as much as a shared interest.

I put aside my writing to fulfill this commitment, and email over the links to vendors, resources, references, catalogs, and feel warmed by participating in something we share. I remember her asking about pets… I find myself not recalling why, at first, then – her dogs. Of course. πŸ™‚ Chickens – any livestock, really – are pets enough for me. I like creatures. The small wild lizards everywhere there delight me. The inquisitive jays and wily crows make me smile. Her dogs are fun and friendly. What else could I want? Chickens. LOL It’s a small thing to share an interest with another human being. We are so many, and so many of us share interests. It feels good to connect with another person. Get their views. Hear their thoughts. Share my own. Practice listening more than talking, while I’m at it. lol (Still so human.)

I hit send. Finish my coffee. Contemplate the brief remainder of the work week. It was rainy yesterday. There is rain in the forecast for the rest of the week. I’m okay with that. My arthritis is less okay with it. I think about the climate “down there”… “at home”? (Can I say that? I want to. It is a vision of one possible future that I do find very enticing.) My arthritis didn’t bother me pain-wise the entire weekend I was down visiting my Traveling Partner and Her. (Fuck. I need a better name for Her. Something playful and fond.) I still dealt with the stiffness, some, but it wasn’t so bad. The weekend here is likely to be rainy. I’m likely to be in pain. Still… there is much to do and to enjoy.

It’s a good time to winterize the deck and the potted garden.

It’s a good time to give the place a thorough cleaning in preparation for the holidays to come.

It’s a good time to light the pilot light on the gas fireplace for the cool autumn nights and cold winter days ahead.

It’s a good time for a last visit to the Farmer’s Market – maybe the big one downtown?

It’s a good time for long autumn hikes through colorful fall forest along unexplored trails.

There’s nothing fancy on my calendar this week; this one’s for me. A simple enough quiet weekend at home. Laundry, dishes, vacuuming, tidying up, reading a book with my feet up by the fire, sipping coffee in the afternoon…

“WhatΒ  are you doing this weekend?”

Everything. This precious mortal lifetime won’t just live itself. πŸ˜€