Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Eggs and I

My yard was an ugly mess. The grass was scant and scraggily. The weeds were vigorous, healthy and knee high. The never ending lawn-care expense did not justify the meager results. Every water bill made me cringe. But I had a vision. I would create a Zen garden, a garden of peace. I would define it with separate areas. There would be nooks, each with a meditation bench and potted splashes of red geraniums and purple petunias. I would plant a rock-ringed circle of herbs, and build paths through the shrubs and fruit trees. In my mind I could picture future plots crowded with lilies, bachelor buttons blowing in the breeze, and poppies nodding their red heads.

So I phoned Frontier Landscaping and ordered fifteen cubic yards of bark chips to cover the grass and weeds and make them go away. I borrowed two muscular young men away from their fencing chores. For two days Trent and Rylee manned shovels and wheel barrows and trundled the chips around the yard while I raked them, creating the canvas for my future masterpiece. I planted and groomed and set about with rockery the spindly twigs of lilac, wild rose and spirea, currants, chokecherries and Saskatoon berries. These sprigs would bear fruit and flowers for years to come.

One morning a couple days later, I dragged a hose around my back yard watering my pots and bushes and twigs. I was exceptionally pleased with the fruits of my labor. I beamed, well satisfied. In my mind I could see the on-going metamorphosis of the once weedy yard into a verdant private park. My reverie was interrupted by a knock at the front door. My first thought was, “I’ll bet that is Sam the Egg Man. And I need some eggs.” So I dropped the hose and pivoted and hobble-ran to the door, through the house and out the front, waved at Sam and bought my eggs, relieved to catch him in time.

There was only one problem. With my newly reconstructed knee I cannot pivot and I cannot run. I have been doing so well in recovery that I forgot those details. I also didn’t consider that I must have stressed my leg muscles in the past few days of raking and shoveling. By the time I got the eggs put away, my leg throbbed like base notes pounding through the speakers in a low-rider hot rod. I grabbed a book and a cup of tea and sat down to wait it out. An hour later, the pain worse, I moved to the couch. My leg felt hard, swollen and hot.

I called Katie. “I hurt my leg. I can’t walk. I can’t go with you to the Northern Montana Fair this afternoon. I won’t get to eat the hot dogs slathered with mustard, the melting ice cream cones, the butter drenched corn-on-the-cob, the gummy cotton candy. I can’t tour the 4-H barn or the crafts and garden and sewing displays. I won’t get to see the livestock and scrape stuff off the bottom of my boots. I won’t get dusty and hot and sweaty and sun-burned. I won’t be able to ride the merry-go-round. I’m going to miss the rodeo.”

“Quit whining,” Katie responded. “I’ll pick you up and take you to the doctor.”

Dr. Pat poked and prodded and frowned and x-rayed. An hour later I was back home, wrapped in ten miles of elastic bandage, iced and propped about with cushions, with a stack of books and a pitcher of water on the floor, and a pair of detested crutches near at hand. I missed the Fair. I cancelled a trip to Helena . But I obeyed orders because I hurt a lot. Four days later Dr. Pat poked and prodded again and pronounced that the damage was muscular. This was good news. It would heal. He positively beamed at the bruise on my thigh the color of a thunderstorm and the size of Texas . It was proof to him that healing had begun. He ordered me to remain prone for ten more days.

“Ten more days!” I heaved a sigh. “Then can I lose the crutches? I hate them and I don’t know how to use them.” He gave me a lesson on how to form a tripod with my body and the crutches. Then correctly interpreting the rebellious look on my face, he told me once more to stay off my leg for ten days or else.

So I am doing my best to obey orders. I read a lot. I have time to meditate. I day-dream. I try not to think too much of all that I am missing, stuck on my couch. And I eat eggs. I eat eggs poached, soft-boiled, fried, and hard-boiled. I make them curried, jellied and scrambled. I make omelets, quiche, soufflé, and egg custard. I have eggs coddled, creamed and baked on toast. I even dyed my eggs and placed them in coconut nests. I am now making exotic Chinese tea eggs. The uses for the humble egg are endless.

Before Sam pulled out of my driveway, that morning when I rushed to buy his eggs, he said, “I figured you were working in the back yard. I would have come around and checked. You didn’t have to hurry.”

Sondra Ashton
Havre Daily News: Home Again
August 20, 2009

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