Friday, April 22, 2011

Gardening in Slow Motion

Today has been one of our rare sunny days this spring.  Its usually not as cool or wet as it has been this year so I am behind on getting the gardening done.  I've learned over the years to not let the shifting sands of weather patterns ruffle my feathers...its a more enjoyable task if I don't and just go with the flow.  So today with the sunshine I went with getting our veggie boxes sown the rest of the way.  I found it took me a lot longer than it used to.

One entire bed and half of another finally sowed and transplants in.
I'm spent.

The first job was adding steer manure to the beds.  Just an inch or two in bed #2 where the potatoes were to be sown, raking it over the top, forking it in and then smoothing it out to level.  How I long for the days when this was not a pain filled moment and I could just sail through this job.  Life isn't like it used to be, back injuries and Fibromyalgia now plague my attempts to do anything like I used to.  Life is moving in slow motion.

Its quite a change for me to move slowly because I am the girl who instead of wanting to learn to do dance moves on my roller skates was more inclined to run you over doing ninety along with the boys.  I love the wind in my hair and that feeling of nearly being able to fly.  I think that's what got me into some of this physical trouble I now suffer.  Its been a hard but good teacher for me this pain and I'm learning that slow is's not bad...its just different...and I won't lie...its hard.

Florence Fennel seedlings...Pushed through the pain to get them planted
I am looking forward to the harvest now.

I'm also learning that even though my mind sometimes disconnects with the fact that I can't do everything or do what I'm planning to as quickly as I used to, that doesn't mean my life is over. I've had to surrender a lot of things, my beautiful dooryard garden which is now very weedy because I can't weed anymore or dig and divide the plants.  Gardening in general has had to be laid on the alter of disability...or should I say gardening in the manner I used to.  No longer can I head off with wild abandon dragging home whatever latest plant I see or hand digging the entire front yard so I'm certain every boulder and large rock is gone.

I'm still tempted beyond any reason but I've learned I have to say no.  Actually I've been tempted to stop gardening all together, to literally hang up the rake and trowel and say "why bother any more" and just have a couple nice containers of flowers by the front door and call it good.  But gardening does something for me...its cathartic and peaceful work that I believe God has gifted me with understanding of.  I truly love how plants work, I can propagate almost anything I get my hands on (that's dangerous) and everything in the garden truly amazes me.  I know it is His gift to me as no other thing makes me feel the way I do when I am in the garden.  I hear better, I see better, I think better.

Weeds speak volumes of my physical limitations but not of my true desires

These days, because of my pain levels, I am bound to think about the reality of what I can manage physically.  I can no longer care for perennials that are strong growers or roses either for that matter.  I just got rid of two roses I so loved but proved to be too much for me to care for.  In my heart of hearts I want to cry out...NO...I loved them but they were inconsiderate of me in how they grew and began spreading throughout the garden overtaking other plants and creating a huge thicket in my tiny front yard garden.  In so many ways my garden has become like a crying child to me, a child I cannot comfort or meet the needs of as I used to.  That is what gardening with physically disabling pain is like for me.

Thicket of unconcerned roses

I started out to write about the accomplishments in the vegetable garden and instead here I am sharing how my life in the garden has changed because of physical pain.  I hope some where someone is needing to hear this, needed to hear that they are not alone.  Sometimes, many times, for me it feels like that, like I am all alone.  When I look out my window at the weeds and overgrown areas in my garden, a garden that I was once able to tend with great care and now can care little for my heart is a bit sad.  My garden used to be on tours, it used to be truly beautiful.  Now I'm relegated to finding beauty amid the ensuing chaos of neglect.  So you are not alone who ever you are.  I am here too.  I know how you feel.

May your garden be blessed and your heart as well,

Copyright © 2011 by Patty Hicks

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  1. I feel for you Patty. Although I don't have the disabling condition you do, I can relate some.
    I tore my trapezius muscle (that triangular one that covers most of the back)in a car accident many years ago.
    Where it used to only cause me pain occasionally, now it's almost constant. Sometimes just rolling over in bed is all it takes to 'put it out'.
    I know I can't fully understand what your condition does, but I think your attitude will help it a lot.
    God bless you and keep you as pain free as possible.

  2. Thanks for the thoughts GJ.
    That has got to hurt! Mine feels like torn muscles that never have been able to heal. (I tore a thigh muscle in high school and that was aweful).

    And you are so right, good attitude is indeed key when dealing with pain.

  3. what a beautiful post, Patty. I loved all the imagery that came up in my mind. It IS apparent that the garden of your heart has not gone to weeds, and that the Loving Shepherd is gently leading you through this time.

    I am thankful for you... for your wisdom, and for your writing. i am one who would love to figure out propagating, but it seems hard! i can "root" things, ya know, but that's as far as it gets..

    May the Lord bless you and keep you, and make His face shine upon you. May He give you His perfect peace, sweet gardening friend.