Standing Tall Among the Flowers

As usual during this magical time of year, when brilliant flowers burst forth from the barren soil—accompanied by invasive weeds—I am in the garden, attempting to tame the land.

My back screams when it sees me heading for the tool shed, “Not the garden cart!”

But, the sun is shining. Weed seeds are pushing out of their pods, straining to get to my fertile ground. It’s a race between me and them. This year, my bet is on them. Not due to laziness on my side, but this aging back just doesn’t bend and lift like it used to.

Every year about this time, I also amble in to see my chiropractor. I hurt. The weeds won.

The chiropractor adjusts my bones, calls for therapy on my muscle spasms, and restores mobility so I can walk out of the office straighter and with fewer moans.

He gives me the same advice as the last time I went to war in my garden: “Do less at one time. Don’t bend at the waist. Don’t twist and pull. Stretch and exercise your body all year long, so you are stronger than the task.”

Very recently, something besides my back shifted. I’m taking my doctor’s advice to heart. Last week, my over-indulgence led to neuropathy—severe, painful itching on the top of my toes. The kind that didn’t let me sleep.

I finally cried, “Uncle.” After a few treatments, it’s better, the itches are gone, but I never want to go there again. So far, I’m being very good. I’m stretching gently, haven’t bent over to pull a weed, and am moving my body in the direction of my head—the old ‘nose between the toes’ adage.

Chiropractors are trained in body mechanics. A bit obstinate, I’ve waited for pain to be my trainer.

At some point, wishful thinking about how much I can get done in a day had to give way to wisdom.

My back is praying this is the year.