A peep of Spring hearkens

It’s the Ides of March, and it’s been a long time since it wasn’t really possible to go out and do much gardening until this late in the year (not that I went out, mind you – but I always told myself I SHOULD get out there before the weeds got started, etc., etc.).

The Problem

When you’re disabled – and trying to use your available brainpower and energy for writing fiction – there isn’t a lot left at the end of the day, and the DECISION to go out is very hard to make.

However, I almost always find that I’m glad I did – when I get out for a while.

And it’s a lot easier to enjoy the necessary chores – which I’m sure God invented just for the purpose of getting suburban dwellers out of the house after Winter – when they aren’t critically late already and the weeds have taken over your whole yard.

The Opportunity

We dropped the daughtorial unit off at the train station to go back to school, and I noticed – smart me! – that it was over 60° out – and, though windy, rather pleasanter than the weather’s been.

I don’t get out of the house, literally, very much, because going somewhere takes so much energy (there’s this novel I’m writing, see?) – and so, over the Winter, most of my occasional excursions have been in the evening, or in the late afternoon, with me coming back after dark.

Also, I’d gotten used to associating ‘sunlight’ with ‘cold out there’ from our winter thermometer readings.

Add to the Winter Doldrums that I can’t walk around the block, and that walking hurts, and that it is awkward and slow (I have a PT intake for next week to see if we can clear some of these up), and there hasn’t been much incentive for going out.

You get a very skewed sense of the world if you’re inside during most of the daylight hours, I tell you.

The Solution

All of this was cured today. After the train station, instead of taking a nap until dusk, I grabbed the opportunity and went out, with the intention of doing a little bit of light raking of gumballs from the sweetgum trees.

And I’m sure you’re not surprised to find that I lasted quite a while – in fact, after a snack and a bit of a rest, I will go out for another little bit to put Preen on the pieces I cleared (keeps the weed seeds from germinating without doing anything else bad to anything, as far as I can tell – much better than weedkiller later).

All winter I’ve been thinking we (hubby just retired) should think seriously about moving to a CCRC (continuing care retirement community), and let someone else handle all the stuff that takes so much time and energy.

And after one hour of sunshine (and wind – it was GUSTY), I have changed my mind! Hooray! Good, too, because it’s supposed to go back to cold this week, and snow 60% on Monday, but who cares?

The Secret

The secret so far? My little orange gardening seat/carryall cart. I DON’T have to stand to do everything. I can scoot along and do a LOT of garden work at dirt level. The cart carries all my tools and gloves. I can stand for a while – and then sit.

I even cleaned out, upended, and reset the two big rain barrels I put on the downspouts last year – so they are ready to catch the Spring rains.

The Happiness

All this gently and slowly, with a bit of pulling of weeds by hand, and a thorough enjoyment of just the very idea of being outside.

I think I’m ready for Spring (even though Winter returns tomorrow for a visit).

I did go back out – got another lawn bag started with gumballs and last year’s lily leaves. I raked a bit, pulled a few more weeds, removed some dead stems, and generally gave three quarters of the walk a cleaner look, and I am smiling smugly.

Maybe I’ll have more energy by the time the next bout of cold air goes its merry way.

How about you?

7 thoughts on “A peep of Spring hearkens

    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      I like Spring – I was pretty tired of Winter (we got another blast this morning).

      I don’t need a break from writing – so much as a brain FOR writing. I can do stuff with the rest of my life – some, anyway – but I can’t write without the ol’ brain on. And fiction requires the most – but it would be silly to pass up what I CAN do for something I can’t do at that moment.

      Thanks for stopping by!


    1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt Post author

      Sweetgums are a pain because of the spiky gumballs – a step on a layer of them can be like stepping on a banana peel, so they really have to be raked. The glory of the sweetgum is Fall: when the colors come out, a single tree can have all the Fall colors at once – and it is breathtaking. And the display can last for days if we don’t get wind, going from the edges of the leaves to the centers, with the color intensifying and changing.

      A sugar maple turns yellow – a sweetgum puts on a Broadway show.



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