Showing Signs of Rust

Posted on May 15, 2013


(I have been in “stealth mode” the last couple of weeks, dealing with a few “smoldering fires” on the personal front. I can say that sometimes having an unscheduled break in the routine causes some reflection of the routine as a whole, the future.  I am happy to say that the Cubbyholewriter is back at the computer and anxious to share more stories. I welcome your supportive comments.)

Lilac blossoms

French lilac blossoms from our back yard

‘Tis the season of the garden warrior. Spring is one of two periods in the garden, late Autumn being the other, when stamina and fitness levels are challenged regularly. Heavy clay pots need loading with soil and plants, there’s pruning, and endless weeds to pull after every Spring shower. Endless. As much as I do feel that gardening is therapeutic, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t reading the label of the WD-40 (spray lubricant) canister the other day to see if I couldn’t make the ol’ joints move a little bit easier. It works like a hot damn on hinges and machinery, so I figured maybe an injection here or there before the rust sets in. Unfortunately, no.

Ferns and forget-me-nots

Ferns and forget-me-nots are so pretty

The reality of maintaining our backyard retreat is that it is ongoing and it takes a physical toll on us for a few weeks to get things in shape. Telling me to downsize my garden, though, is like telling me that I’ll see a size 10 dress again – highly unlikely in the immediate future, and certainly not without some distress. Whether it’s the loss of some comfort foods or the loss of some long-time botanical companions, I’d be a grumpy gal. However, that scenario is one that I will no doubt have to confront in the next couple of years or so, just like many other seniors in the neighbourhood.

It really is ironic that our bodies begin to break down and ache about the same time that our work schedules and family obligations ease up, allowing us more leisure time in the garden. It’s like an Almighty finger reaching down from heaven, giving you a poke-poke in the back, and a voice saying “You’re not thirty any more, Sweetie … no matter what your hair colour says! Listen up!”

Oh yes, I’ve heard that voice on more than one occasion, usually hauling rocks or lifting sod in our back yard. On the other hand, my family and friends have certainly enjoyed the benefits of all that sweat equity. Hubby and I joke that the back yard will never be completely finished; we always find something to change or add. Still, there are days, especially those long days of July, that I long to just mellow out and appreciate the serenity that comes when good planning and nature co-exist. Ahhhh…pass that chilled glass of wine my way.

Pierce Brosnan

Pierce Brosnan – gardening help?

Robert Downey Jr

Robert Downey Jr. – mixing backyard cocktails?

Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman – pond guy?

Jolt back to reality. Could I make the gardening experience a bit easier on the ol’ bones? The last time I checked the budget there wasn’t an allowance for a full-time gardener or pond-boy, so that wasn’t an option. Now a man-servant who looks like Pierce Brosnan, Hugh Jackman or Robert Downey Jr. might do nicely… “Hand me that shovel, 007, would you? Hugh, would you mind cleaning out the pond? Hey, Ironman – if it’s too hot you can always take your shirt off…” OK, OK, I can dream.

Hubby suggested we could always bring in some help with the yard cleanups when it gets to be “too much for us”.  (Doesn’t that sound a lot like we’re getting “feeble”?) But at what point do I send up the white flag of defeat? (My physiotherapist would have some comments no doubt.) Just like those invincible twenty-somethings you shake your head at, this fifty-something still feels like an able-bodied garden warrior most of the time. That is, until I wrench a muscle or get hurt. Then I whine. Then I whine with a glass of wine. Where’s my 007 rescue when I need it?

Spring tulips

Spring tulips – lovely in a lavender colour

So I guess I will stay in denial a little longer while facing the inevitable adjustment in garden upkeep, with the help of a few new gardening aids – and any willing volunteers passing through the back gate. I didn’t forget about my other option – about using discipline in what is planted. Any new plants that call to me at the garden nursery in the spring have to be low maintenance, small in size and perennial. It’s about planning for pizzazz not pain.

And yes, I’d be more than willing to entertain the idea of Pierce, Hugh or Robert with a shovel in one hand and a cocktail in the other.