Springtime Boom and Bust

by Marina Ingrit

It was a nice enough day. There were pockets of sun. The pathways were dry and it was warm enough to work without gloves.

I was enticed into the garden with plenty of good excuses. The elderberry needed pruning. So did the Rose of Sharon. And the Rosa glauca. And the black elder. And the goji. While we’re at it, let’s take a few odd branches off the lilac. Cut back some of the bushes coming over the fence from the neighbour’s.

Snip, snip, snip, snippy.

Once I start with the pruners, I can’t stop. Must keep snipping. Remove dead peony leaves. This Japanese maple needs a ton of work. Some of these currant branches are not practicing proper social distancing.

I enthusiastically snipped myself into utter, lay-flat-can’t-move exhaustion and aches in places that haven’t ached in ages. My god, the stiffnesses. Anyone who says gardening is civil, a bit of a doddle, a lite hobby for the middle-aged set, were either not middle-aged, or had left all the hard bits for the “help.”

There will be no further snipping today and if he sees the pruners in my hand, my partner Davin has my full permission to intervene.

I’ve always gone a bit mad in the first months of the growing season. I’d commit whole days to time in the garden, rushing from one project to the next, often multitasking, ping-ponging from one bed to the next and back again. I even have a headlamp so I can work into the dark.

But as much as I’d like, I can’t do that anymore. My body put its foot down firmly some years ago. The problem with having a fatigue condition is that you spend so much time exhausted and unable to do basic things, let alone the things you love. So when you do have energy, any at all, it’s really easy to override the panicked cues from your body and try to do everything you missed out on in one enormous push.

Boom and Bust is what they call it. I had a boom day yesterday, and now I am busted. Even now, as I lay here in pain tapping this out on my phone, the sun has come out and I’ve thought, more than once, about going outside and finishing some of what I started. My mind is a monster that needs to be stopped!

I’m not going to punish myself for my enthusiasm, just take the fallout as a reminder that I can be excited, experience the joyful emergence of the springtime garden, and be mindful of my limits at the same time.

Onward spring! But maybe with me not rushing out to meet it quite so vigorously.

You may also like