There are few things as truly good for the soul as dark rich soil and all the life contained within. Of course, there are few things as jarring for the body as cultivating a yard gone to meadow and then planting said yard with perennials. So while my mind and heart sing out a blissful YES, my body wimpers, sobs, and groans in protest – but it’s worth it.
One of the greatest tools for ripping apart the surface of a yard yet to become garden is the Garden Claw. And for my parent’s purchase of said tool years ago I am grateful. It takes some work; jabbing it into the ground, twisting and wrenching, ripping up that tough top layer filled with root and unwanted growth. My arms were already sore from the previous begun cultivation, but without this particular tool? I can’t imagine the work it would have been. With all the tree roots in our yard, there was no mechanized way to really dig in – and I don’t mind having the chance to feel truly involved with this process.
There isn’t much that’s all that gratifying about jabbing, twisting, and pulling up clumps with the Garden Claw… nor is there much to take joy in while you use your hand fork to rake through the mess pulling out unwanted plant and root – inch by inch. Shaking loose the dirt held within each clump. But the next step? It makes it all worth the effort!
Feeling that dark rich soil that waited for you, hidden just beneath? It’s pure heaven. Watching and discovering the infinite life contained within stirs the soul in ways nothing else does. Connecting with the Earth at the most basic level, on your hands and knees as you commit each tiny plant to it’s home.
I’m not a gardener. I don’t know the names of all the crawling creeping things within the soil, nor do I know the names (common or proper) of the perennials we planted the last couple of days. But I do know that we all need to find a way to connect to our Earth. If you ever need to see deity, to feel the Earth breathe life and to know that we are all connected? There is no simpler way to do so than to pick up a trowel and go find a patch of dirt that has been lying in wait for someone to tend it – to turn it from dirt to soil. To create with it something amazing.
A bit cornball? Maybe. But that’s me.
It is Poverty Awareness Week here in Saskatoon, and one of my favourite annual events is Hands Across the Water. Unfortunately, due to my pain level, I wasn’t able to participate this year. I have to admit, it broke my heart a little.
Hands Across the Water brings people from across the city together. We all gather at one end of the Broadway Bridge, and in silence, make our way onto the bridge – holding hands. The goal is to make a chain from one side of the bridge to the other. We hadn’t made it the last two years… but I’m hopeful that the people who gathered today were able to make it across.
As some of you know, I’ve suffered from FMS for the last decade. It’s typically diagnosed in women who are between 40 and 60, but I was diagnosed in my early twenties. Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain syndrome that effects the muscles and soft tissue. I’ve gotten used to the daily pain, and cope quite well. You’d be surprised what can become “normal”. 😉 I don’t like to dwell on the negative, so don’t focus on what the pain has taken away from me, rather I choose to look at the opportunities I’ve had because of it.
Earlier this year I found myself in the emergency room because of debilitating back pain. We don’t know the cause yet, only that it doesn’t seem to be going away. I hate taking medication, and always try to wean myself off of prescriptions as soon as I’m able… unfortunately it’s looking like I’ll need a higher dose before that happens as I’m finding I’m having breakthrough pain more and more often these days.
It hurts my heart a great deal when I end up missing events like Hands Across the Water. My city, my community, is so important to me. And awareness events, and political activism are how I demonstrate my commitment. Poverty, equality, human rights… these things need our attention, our focus. And I feel badly that my pain has kept me from being as active this month as I’d have liked.
I am also sorry that I didn’t feel ready to share this before now. Even as I type this blog post I’m wary about sharing it. Chronic pain, and Invisible Disabilities, are not well understood… and those of us who deal with them on a daily basis often feel a lot of guilt associated with each. They take us from things that deserve our focus, and despite our best efforts, they take over completely from time to time.
So. I hope you’ll understand. And I hope you’ll forgive my absence tonight. I was with you all in spirit.