Saturday, September 13, 2014

At Least I'm Not Falling down

Today, I remembered why I hate using the weed whacker.

The lower part of our property, the part the no one sees, had gotten too tall to mow. It was also too bumpy to mow, really. Oh, I could mow it, but I couldn't expect Nick to mow it. And even then, I hit a bunch of bumps and rocks and probably dulled the blade. So today, Mike set Nick up to use the weed whacker on it.

I heard that thing going and remembered the lily of the valley and the poor little laurel lost in all those weeds and I went down after having vacuumed to try to save them. I jumped into a pair of flip flops. I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Nick was doing a fine job. He really was. So I told him that I'd get him hearing protection and safety glasses. Then, I stood behind him trying to find the poor little laurel before he whacked the heck out of it. I couldn't remember where it was and I had already run into it a bit with the mower when I was down there last time.

Five minutes after I arrived, Nick handed me the whacker, the ear protection and disappeared. There I stood in my flip flops and shorts. Did I mention that there were nettles and blackberry mixed in with the grass? I started okay. I even caught myself before I whacked the heck out of the laurel when it appeared. I thought, for about the third time, that I should shove a dowel into the ground to mark the pathetic little laurel. I even got into a groove, swinging the weed whacker head back and forth and laying that tall grass down in rows.

Then, I hit a patch of nettle up an incline.  Do goats eat nettle? Maybe I need a couple of goats. And suddenly, a nettle fell across my right foot, the one that I had put up the hill to brace myself. I considered putting the whacker down to go get proper shoes, socks, pants, maybe armor, to protect myself from the briars and the nettles.

Nah, I thought. It was too much of a bother. The whacker was running and I could be done with what I was doing in about twenty minutes if I kept up the same rhythm, longer than it would take to find socks, old shoes, long pants, and try to get the whacker started again. Did I tell you that I'm no longer strong enough to start the thing by myself? It sucks turning into an old woman. 

But what I didn't figure is that it's hard to keep a rhythm when your entire right foot has gone numb, or is stinging from multiple spots in unison. I gave up trying to protect my right foot. It wasn't that bad, I thought.

Then, another nettle gigged my left foot in a couple of places. If I kept this up, I'd be numb from the knees down.

Oh, I finished that job. I did. I ignored the stinging and finished it. Plus, I hoed the weeds inside the driveway circle. Then, I planted the wintergreen, wild ginger, bunchberry, lily of the valley, Oregon grape, and hydrangea that I had bought a couple of weeks ago. I knew they'd be dead in another week or so if I didn't.

I do that.

I go to a nursery, usually in need of a gift of some sort. I get all excited about gardening and I spend a couple of hundred dollars on stuff that I happily put into their intended places in the yard. Then, I look at these plants for a few weeks as they whither, yellow, drop leaves, and otherwise revert from the lush plants I bought to the usual plants that grow in my yard.

Weeds in my yard are lush. Stuff I buy is usually spindly and yellow, with dead branches and a lump where their root balls are beginning to show.

Fortunate for me, my new plants hadn't gone too far into their natural decline. These days, I'm going native.

No, I am not naked.

I'm trying to get my yard to look like the most beautiful parts of the forest. I figure that if the plants are lush in the forest with no supervision, then maybe my yard could run the same way.

Fat chance, I think, but it's worth a shot. Nothing else has worked any better. Things I plant either die or they grow twenty feet taller than they were supposed to and start crowding over other plants like kudzu in Louisiana. Don't remind me about Forget-Me-Not. I can't forget it. It's still growing. Everywhere.

To my credit, I didn't plant the blackberry, the morning glory, the Stinky Bob, or the nettles in my yard. They came with the house. Actually, the Stinky Bob came with the first landscapers we hired. There's a reason these people aren't still working on my yard. Stinky Bob. Thanks for that. It really is stinky.

Today, it was the nettle that got me. By the time I was done, I was covered in sweat and chunks of weeds that the whacker had splattered across my legs. I showered and still had little bits of green stuck to me.

I wondered if I'd have been able to blend some of this stuff. I'm sure it would have made a healthy smoothie, minus the stinging nettles, which would require time in a hot tea bag to lose its sting. I didn't though. Most of it ran down the drain. The rest, I picked off with my fingernail as Nick played his new game, Destiny. Apparently, Nick doesn't dance, if you wanted to know. I was disappointed that he doesn't dance.

It sucks to be the age at which you worry what other people think, even if those people are just characters created by anonymous people across the country who have no idea who it is that's doing the dancing. Nick is convinced that only nine year old kids are doing the dancing.

Bummer. That would have made me feel better, to see all these warriors dancing.

By the time I got most of the green picked off my shins, I realized that I had a boot of sting on my right foot. Seriously. I was too damned lazy to shut off the whacker and get some damned shoes. On my left foot, I had a line down the inside arch and one bright spot in the middle of the top of my foot.  But my right foot is a boot of numb and occasional reverb of stinging.

It reminds me of how my right foot felt just before I had surgery on my back, numb and tingling with occasional shooting pains. Oh, I had forgotten how scary that time was, thinking that I wouldn't feel my right foot for the rest of my life. Falling for no reason. Getting stuck in a standing position half way to my car because I couldn't make my right foot move forward. I was in traction for ten days before I had that surgery. They were awful, painful days, and long, painful, and terrifying nights.

And except for the falling down and the getting stuck half way to my car, this is how my right foot felt. I had forgotten how it had felt. I had been glad to have forgotten how that right foot felt.

At least I'm not falling down.

And the nettle stings will go away tomorrow. I can be pretty sure the boot of pain and tingling will go away tomorrow.

They will go away. Won't they?

Thank you for listening, jules

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