Sunday, February 25, 2007


This is quite a big deal this year. Can I use a shovel? Four months since I broke my back in a car crash. Three months solid in a huge plastic brace. One month weaning myself from the brace and the narcotics. Slowly strengthening my chest and back muscles. Lots of naps. Still pain in my back: a sharp knuckle shoved in right next to my back bone. Ouch. But it is time to garden! I MUST garden. And I must slowly and carefully bring my body back into shape. Digging and turning soil with all of its bending and lifting is not going to work. I choose a well-worked bed – not long ago it was the floor of one of the chicken houses. I slowly and vigorously rake off the dead weeds and grass. Then I plant the shovel in the soil and using the handle as a lever pry the soil up to loosen it. After loosening a five-foot row of turves, I use the shovel like a digging bar, letting it fall of its own weight to chop the turves into clods. This works well. No pain! I rake and smooth until I have a nice bed for this year’s spinach. Out pops an early earthworm to check on the commotion. The soil and I, we are ready.

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