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In the garden, albeit briefly

April 6, 2007

The sun is shining and its warmth has vanquished the 40-degree morning chill. I am fixated on the weeds that garrote the yellow tulips I see from my dining room window.

The sunny yard is too irresistible: I heed the call and don my Defender of the Tulips uniform: long canvas pants, long-sleeved shirt, sweatshirt, gloves, and hat. Neighbors down the street are out in shorts, but one puff of coolish breeze on my back will blow in The Ache. The school down the block is on spring break, and the street is quiet. No one is around to see me inventing the Sloth pose for some modified yoga system. I give myself a 20-minute limit so I don’t overdo and find out that nothing has changed.

The weed volume is depressing, and my husband has rototilled recently. I try to keep from thinking the whole yard must be weed free and set my limit to the small patch of tulips in the back, and the front yard border.

I’m unable to find a weeding position that doesn’t send shooting pain through my right hip. What has changed is that I know I won’t die of this. I use my Pilates breathing and try to bend and stretch slowly toward each weed. This is extremely tedious. But I am working in the garden.

Halfway into the front border project, my neighbor’s gardener shows up. My neighbor detests yard work and any other sort of quiet activity. The gardener is the sort of fellow who affirms his existence in decibels. He pushes his gas mower, full throttle, from across the street and two doors down where he parks. He wears hearing protectors but brings none to share.

Thirty-five minutes into my project, my weed bucket is full. My hip hurts as much as it did the last time I attempted this. The garden looks the same as it did thirty-five minutes earlier. But there are fewer weeds:  my full bucket attests to this. I’m over my time limit, but what is thrilling is that my neck and shoulders are not wracked: I have gained upper-body strength with Y-Dan and the Swiss ball.

At this point in my life, the best part of gardening is the wonderful feeling of the clean clothes that follow, and stretching out  on my Swiss ball in The Plank position. Then there is tea and my heated rice-filled pillow behind my back.

I’m just not a condo dweller. I take pleasure in our yard. I hate the weeds. It’s just going to be like this.

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