Yesterday was warm. Too warm for January. I turned off the heater and opened all the windows in the house, and then went outside to work in the yard. I decided to focus on the upper bed on the side of the house. This time of year, the beds are covered with fallen leaves and seasonal plants that have died off.
As I worked, I could hear my younger son working behind the house at his forge, singing one of his Irish ballads. In the front yard, my older son leaned against a dogwood tree, playing his banjo and watching me work.
It was perfect gardening weather - a high of 73 and a little overcast. The ground was wet from the rain we've been getting and easy to dig in. Normally I don't start this work until early Spring, but I couldn't bear to miss this opportunity. I gathered up bucket after bucket of dead leaves, tore out the brown remains of the lilies of the valley and dug up weeds that are merrily growing when they should not be. All of this went to the side of the road for the city to pick up.
I only stopped when I did because I'd promised my kids we'd go to a restaurant where my son said he'd found the best thing on the menu. We all got the same thing - mojarra veracruzana. A whole tilapia pan-fried and covered in a tomato shrimp sauce. And it was, in fact, delicious.
All told, I worked for about five hours yesterday. Unwisely, as it turned out. All those hours of beding and twisting to yank out weeds just outside my reach took their toll and when I woke up this morning, I knew I was in trouble. About a decade ago, I hurt my back to the point of needing physical therapy for a herniated disk. I know from the telltale pain along my sciatic nerves that I've done it again. Friday I was out running but today even sitting up is problematic, and I am walking with the shuffle of a nursing home resident. I can laugh about the foolish mistakes I make in my personal life, but this sort of thing just ticks me off at myself.
Live and, with any luck, learn. I'll be taking breaks more frequently and reaching a little less next time. But I'm uneasy about the weather. It's eerie for it to be this pretty when winter ought to be just hitting it's stride. It's not that I don't love it, but it's like being given a beautiful piece of jewelry knowing it was obtained in a mugging. I want to tell the daffodils to retreat, but I know they are just responding to the too-warm ground that houses them. Tell them global climate change is a myth.