It’s November 3rd, and I am at the doctor’s office for a yearly physical. I have lost 47 pounds since my last visit.
The Doc asked, “How and why did you lose so much weight?”
“Stress takes away my appetite,” I said in a matter-of-fact tone.
Then he made it obvious that he was gonna check my prostate. Right when he was about to do that thing that no guy wants to talk about, I jokingly sang, “Don’t Fear the Finger;” in the same manner that Blue Oyster Cult sings “Don’t Fear the Reaper.”
My Doc got a good chuckle out of my antics.
Then he put on his professional face, “I want you to take a baby aspirin every day, and next year we’ll do a colonoscopy. Welcome to middle age,” he said sternly.
I told him, “I feel blessed to have made it this far. Most of my friends died 20-25 years ago.”
He blurted back, “That is different because they died from HIV/AIDS.”
I surrendered to his logic and said, “True story. But death can come in an instant regardless of one’s health. I’ve seen it.”
He exclaimed, “You should write a book.”
With a prideful smile, I muttered, “I am.”
Then he had the nurse stab me with a needleful of that flu vaccine. I had never had one before, and I was reluctant to get it.
And just like that, I came down with the flu on November 8th.
10 days into the funky flu, I found myself struggling for energy to do anything on my Saturday off from work. And, as I sat in the sunroom, I could see the unrelenting rain.
Suddenly, I heard violins as my mind thought about things that have overwhelmed me in 2017:
- Grieving my Mom’s death.
- 2 new jobs in the same year, for the same company. Like(d) both of them, but it’s a lot of acclimating.
- Regularly staying up for 22 hours, in order to drive 495 miles to Snow Hill, Maryland (to see my attorney) before heading to Shippensburg, Pennsylvania for work.
In no time, I felt my thoughts descending into Debbie Downer’s world. That’s what happens when I let my mind get filled with sad thoughts. So, I reeled my brain back to better thoughts by focusing on the cold, November Rain……….
Then I spotted a stream forming on the left side (south side) of my backyard.
Just like that, it dawned on me that I had discovered a great Spring 2018 gardening project; a wetlands garden to accompany that stream!
Now, please don’t conjure up an image of a flashflood-like stream. Nobody, not even my fur babies would be harmed by this gentle stream in the backyard of my house. That kind of thinking would give the wrong impression about my stream. Don’t imagine a Hollywood blockbuster film about a natural disaster; with Celine Dion singing the grammy award-winning soundtrack. By the way, I am not a fan of Celine Dion. In fact, she works on my last gay nerve so badly that I could probably now consider myself straight.
At any rate, my stream is not glitzy like Hollywood, or annoying like Celine. It’s merely a temporary body of water created from rain flowing out of the gutters.
Try to imagine Laura Ingalls Wilder as she plants flowers along a stream in the backyard of her little house on the prairie.
That’s more like me, and my stream.
Except that I am a man, and Melissa Gilbert is, um……..manly. Plus, Laura Ingalls would probably be reading the Bible while she planted those flowers.
I can assure everyone that I would never do that.
My point is that when we’re struggling with things, many of us will find an activity to help us fake it until we make it. Something to keep our sad mind preoccupied with happier things.
Gardening is my fake it until I make it activity. Just like Laura Ingalls (most likely) faked scripture to make it in her little house.
Gardening gives me an outlet so that I am not always focusing on the emotional rollercoaster that 2017 has been. I don’t want to be hitching a ride at the amusement park 24/7. Gardening helps me forget about that coaster.
Sex would probably be more effective than gardening. But, I am a middle-aged, single, gay man who lives in a county that hasn’t electorally voted Democrat since 1968!
So, gardening it is; because it makes me feel happy.
But, I am bummed that Winter has arrived. It’s time to fake crafts until I make crafts; because it’s now too flipping cold for outside stuff. It’s alright, though. I have many months to fantasize about what plants would be suitable for my south side stream; and that puts a smile on my face.