So friends, ’tis true, your garden beds are bare. But there is something that we gardeners can still be growing — even in this dark and dreary, un-gardenable season. You don’t even have to go outside to do it.
Yes, I thought, as I huffed through a plank (yes one plank) this morning, this is the best thing I can do right now to insure a good harvest next season! PLANKS! Eww, sick, I know. But the solid truth is that gardening can be really hard on my bod. During the off season I do a lot more sitting,get soggy in the middle, and have a lot more back, neck, and shoulder pain than in the summer.
Unlike some of you athletic people, I was not endowed with a hearty frame. In fact, I’m pretty proud of what this scrawny ectomorph-ic structure has been able to do. Much as I have always hated to see myself as frail, I was a sickly kid. I spent years eating foods that irritate me, being chronically sick, and carrying Kleenex around in all seasons. I could blame my scoliosis (an S shaped spine) for what I cant do – and it is the major reason why the life a real farmer is not for me. But what I do in the garden is great for strengthening me. When I am outside again, hoisting boards, shoveling dirt, and balancing wheelbarrows for a portion of every day, I do better – PROVIDED I have strengthened my supportive muscles. At 53, I am careful about what movements I make (not bending at the waist, not lifting stuff), but it doesn’t stop me much. I believe in creative solutions.
Isn’t it tragic though how muscle tissue melts away sans regular use? Sob. Gone with summer’s golden brown tan. So, I am going to advocate – to myself and you – to grow your muscles this winter season. YOU are part of your permaculture! Yes – don’t fuss now – I am planning on a winter of daily yoga and strengthening!!
There was a time when Edward laughed at me if I had tried to get him to do yoga stretching. I could see how tight his muscles were, but time for stretching was outside his frame of reference. “Yoga, yogurt, and tofu” all belonged in the same phrase to him, signalling what was goofy and not part of his world. But no more. (Although we do not eat tofu) When Edward developed an incredibly painful, mystery back condition two years ago, stretching out with Rodney Yee every morning was about the only thing that helped. The pain in his back was healed six months ago, by an excellent acupuncturist in DC. But AM Yoga with Rodney Yee is still part of his morning ritual before the dog walk. To enjoy making your garden grow, you need to be relatively strong, and relatively flexible. Flexible in lots of ways…
So, here I go – three months to enjoy my seed catalogs – and do my planks! (Ok,ok, I know… turning off the computer – leaving for the gym….)