Yesterday was sort of rough. Achy hands were a little achy-er and, just to toss in something new, my right knee flared mildly. It wasn’t enough to slow me down, but each step on that leg came with a low, mean twinge that I couldn’t ignore, try as I might.
After a good night’s sleep (in spite of Finny and PIB, who have decided not to bug each other at bedtime and who sleep mere inches apart while tucked up close against me, making each of my turn-overs during the night a sort of gymnastic work of art, as neither of them moves), my hands are back to normal (mildly sore) and that ominous twinge in my knee is gone entirely. I’m relieved.
I’m re-learning rheuma, re-learning how to react when one of my joints decides to flare. Unlike the past, when a twinge in a knee was a warning of imminent agony and disablement that could last for half a day to a week, these days those twinges just seem to peter out. I hope that means the cocktail of drugs I’m taking are doing their jobs, even if imperfectly, at stopping the inflammation before it gets out of hand. And I’m grateful. My memories of the flares I went through during the first 10 years after I was diagnosed with RA are nightmarish. But it’s a different beast now.
The storm that brought a couple of inches of snow, hail, sleet, grauppel and rain has gone, flying over the mountains to the east. Today the sun is out and everything is sparkling with wet diamonds. There are still patches of glistening, crusty white snow in the shady areas, and it’s cold enough that my breath steams, but it looks like a fine day to get out in the garden and start cleaning up and prepping it for spring planting. I have dreams of roma tomato vines and pretty green-and-purple aubergine plants, of colorful bell peppers, leafy heads of romaine and butter and oak-leaf lettuce. And beans — I want to plant beans this season — fava beans, green beans, black beans.
There’s a lot of pleasant, calorie-burning, muscle-stretching work to be done out there on our little 1/3-acre garden. I’m looking forward to being out there, soaking up the warmth and Vitamin D from the sun. Already the clematis plants are sending out their long, delicate vines, which brush my face when I pass beneath them. They need to be trained to the trellises. And of course, there’s a winter’s worth of clean up to do. Each storm left more leaves and pine needles on the ground; it all needs to be neatened up in celebration of the sweet weather ahead.
Inside, windows need washed and thrown open to the fresh, clean air, cobwebs in the corners need swept away, and the ever-present ash, dirt and wood particles around the wood stove and the firewood ring need cleaned up. The sunshine offers up dust on surfaces I couldn’t see when the daylight was dark and gray. There’s so much to be done.
Today, after a long weekend spent mainly indoors, watching the wild, last-of-winter weather wreak havoc, the world outdoors beckons me. That’s where I’ll start, tackling one bright chore at a time. I’ll do my best to be mindful of my energy and my joints — rheuma is always in the wings — but I’ll enjoy each thing I accomplish today. Spring is here. Summer is on the way. Today is a celebration.