Broomy (or is that barmy) heroism

So I did it again.

I heard it was gonna rain. It was an “off” day for the gym, and I had planned to walk, but with this happy news, I decided I’d be smart to go out and sweep leaves again. That way I’d kill two birds with one stone: I’d get a nice, upper-body workout (we have a big yard) and not have to face the danger of slippery, wet leaves plastered onto the cement later.  

(An aside: We don’t have any grass. We have a long, seriously steep driveway, cement walkways, and two cement patios, front and back. The rest of our God’s two-thirds-of-an-acre is given to several gWren's work1ardens and a small home orchard. Anyone need pomegranates or persimmons? We have several tons…)

The “threat of rain,” as you might have figured out by now, inspires me to feats of broomy heroism in the fall. By autumn, you see, it’s been so long since I’ve seen water falling from the sky it’s like a bloody miracle. I’m not really rational about this. I absolutely love rain. I even loved it when I lived where it rained almost constantly. But here in Northern California, we’re working on the fourth year of an extended drought, and rain has taken a powder. It’s rare as hen’s teeth.

And so when I hear that rain is imminent I must take action, anticipating the miraculous event.

I spent about four hours outside yesterday, wielding my broom and, because I could hardly just pass by plants that needed serious fall pruning (I hate Wren's work2branches and stuff smacking me in the face as I walk along the footpath around the house), my pruning shears. From the driveway, the front walk and the back patio I swept up a huge pile of crackly dead leaves, and I did some further serious trimming-back of the wisteria and blackberry bramble that forms part of what I call our “hedgerow,” which separates our property from our neighbor’s.

The day was delightfully cool and sunny. The air smelt lovely. There was a nice breeze kicking up in advance of the cold front that was moving toward us off the Pacific. The jays were squawking at each other, and at me, and overhead extended V’s of Canada geese flew over, headed for wherever they head each fall. I was happy as could be.

And yes, my hands and wrists twinged and hurt as I worked. That’s de rigueur these days, though. No big deal. Life goes on, you know?

I swept leaves until I’d worked up a good sweat and then swept some more. About three quarters of the way through the task it occurred to me that I was getting tired. Like, seriously tired. More tired than I should have been. After all, this isn’t heavy labor. It’s bright, active work that doesn’t require brawn as much as perseverance. But I couldn’t just stop. The afternoon was slidingWren's work3 quickly toward evening. I needed to finish, then pick up the piles of leaves and get them into the green can for the trash-pickup next week. If the piles of leaves got wet, that was going to be a true pain in the arse.

Well, the sun was nearly down by the time I finished up. I put away the broom, the pruning shears and my pitchfork. I rolled the green can back to it’s place at the end of the drive. I shook my fist at the trees, which had dropped a few more dead leaves onto the driveway while my back was turned.

I went inside, called ahead to the local pizza joint, washed up and then took off to pick up dinner. Ate. Fell into bed.

Today I’m gimping like an old lady. I’ve got more owies than a five-year-old. But you know what? I’m proud of myself. I got this big job done in spite of rheuma and in spite of my own, natural laziness. Of course, it hasn’t rained yet today, and now the weatherguys are saying it will mostly stay north of here. But it’s overcast and it looks like it could …

Tomorrow morning I have an appointment with my rheumatologist. We’re going to talk about my hands, and my feet, and how I can’t open my mouth very wide because my jaw is flared. We’re going to discuss how the rheuma seems to be ramping up and up, and how maybe the Arava and sulfasalazine aren’t quite cutting the mustard anymore. We’re going to talk about the possibilities of physical therapy. Of acupuncture. Of more efficacious pain meds. And how I’ve been exercising my body at the gym and at home, wrestling autumn leaves.

I’m looking forward to a positive and productive appointment with him. He’s a good doc. I like him. So we’ll see how it goes.

Oh – and thanks for stopping by. I love hearing from you.

3 thoughts on “Broomy (or is that barmy) heroism

  1. Good for you! I always feel so accomplished after outdoor work, even if it does make me move a little more slowly later in the day.

    What gorgeous gardens!


  2. Thanks so much for your comment! I am totally jealous of your rheumy. In fact, you will be reading about some of my lame doctors soon. 🙂

    You made me feel a lot better about healthcare. I have been voting for it, but a bit scared about what it will mean. It is nice to hear your perspective on it!!!

    – RA SB


Comments are closed.