Friday, March 18, 2011

SUNSHINE AT MY FEET


Yesterday I walked through a nearby woods a'dazzle with winter anconites. The bright yellow blooms gleamed everywhere on the loamy ground, like bits of fallen sunshine. I took my time—making a few photos, breathing deep the soft, rich air heady with vernal perfumes. It was as fine a way as I knew to enjoy the 68˚F temperatures and to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

I've been visiting this same patch of wild-growing anconites for decades. Winter anconites are naturalized plants rather than natives. Their original range was Europe and parts of Asia. Members of the buttercup family, they are among the earliest plants to bloom—unfurling their cadmium yellow petals about the same time as skunk cabbage or snow trillium in the wild, or snowdrops and crocus in the garden. Some years this particular bunch blooms in late-February amid patches of snow; other years—such as this time around—they don't show themselves until the second week of March.       

Unfortunately, my bummed-up knee and hip limited my amble to perhaps a hundred yards before I was forced to drape my backside over a convenient log and take a rest. 

I still haven't figured out whether this painful malady is a bout of arthritis, an injury sustained from clambering up and down the stepladder carrying boxes of books into the attic in anticipation of the recent looming flood, or is simply nothing more than the latest manifestation of creeping geezerhood. All I know is that it hurts—a lot. Walking, sitting, even when I'm stretched out on the bed. The pain is sharp and white-hot, like an inserted knife. And intermittent—sometimes it lasts a couple of hours, or until the pills kick in, or it might be bad for a few minutes and then just disappear for awhile. Hot water, heating pads, and sports creams do little. Yesterday I couldn't manage five minutes straight at the desk; today I've sat in relative comfort for several hours already. 

After I'd rested awhile, and the throbbing in my knee had lessened from that of sledge-hammer whacks to mere tack-hammer taps, I tried to resume my foray…but the pain started to flare up again so I had to turn around and gimp my way back to the pickup. It was all I could do to get there.

Still, as I said, the pain is much less today. Plus there's more sunshine to enjoy. So I believe I'll see what the ol' joints do in reaction to a little yard raking. The worst that can happen is I'll have to sit in the rocking chair on the deck and watch the river slip sparkling and murmuring along…
———————            

14 comments:

KGMom said...

Sorry about the bum knee, hip etc. Nothing reminds us so much of age as the betrayal of our bodies.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Love the bright yellow--spring and yellow--paired in my mind.

Bonnie said...

You have such great taste in carpets, Grizz! Beautiful!

Sorry to hear you are in such pain. I pulled a muscle in my shoulder in January and have not seen a better description of the pain I have been experiencing than what I just read in your post: 'white-hot, sharp'.... searing. Mine is mainly initiated by movement and if I set off the pain it radiates down my arm for two or three minutes in a 'white-hot' burn.

I've been seeing a physiotherapist/osteopath for my mending wrist, but she is now working mainly on the shoulder. I share this with you because of the similar description of the quality of your pain. Anyway, she recommends ice packs 3x day, 15 min. minimum each time to reduce inflammation. She says the muscle is inflammed and with movement gets pinched by the bones which in turn affects the nerves - giving off the searing pain.

I too felt comforted by heat and had been applying that - but when I followed her advice and started applying ice packs I did notice a diminishment in the pain. Perhaps it would work for you too?

It's demoralizing to have a mind with so many wishes, projects and plans and then be inhibited by pain in the body needed to accomplish the plan. Hope you find the necessary mix of healing ingredients/actions to produce some relief. Take care.

Grizz………… said...

KGM…

Not only is the flesh unwilling…but there are days when I think mine is catching the last train to Memphis.

I usually think of spring in pastel shades of pink and lavender, white and baby-blue—and if yellow is involved, something more along the line of primrose. Strong, vibrant yellows I associate with mid-summer and hot weather. But…these bright yellow anconites sure cheered up my day!

Scott said...

Grizz,

We here on Piedmont floodplains have our own non-native buttercup, but ours is a horrible invasive: lesser celandine. Once it gets established, it seems like it's here forever and it spreads and covers everything for about a month. Then, it turns to slime and is gone until next year. I asked a botanist if she though that it is excluding natives on the floodplain considering that it is only present for short period of time, and she said,"Absolutely!" So, though it truly carpets the floodplain with the same beatuiful yellow blooms, it's really an ecologically horror here.

Grizz………… said...

Bonnie…

I really appreciate your comments and willingness to share your own experience. However, I'm so very sorry to hear you've been in such prolonged pain. Such pain day after day is debilitating in ways no one understands unless they've been there. I've messed myself up a number of times over the years—had a fair number of accidents; and I've also had a few deadly serious medical issues. My back has been bad and getting worse all my life. But it's been a long time since I've felt such acute pain for so long a basis.

I'm going to give the ice packs a try. I can't tell that there's any inflammation; nothing is red or swollen or hot to the touch. But maybe it's too deep or something. I can well believe it's nerve related because of the way it involves knee, thigh, hip, and lower back.

Maybe, with time—I hope—the pain will diminish and pass, for both of us. I'll keep you in my prayers and give the ice packs a go; you can, uh, send good thoughts my way and continue your own ice-pack treatment. Sincerely, thank you.

Grizz………… said...

Scott…

Ahh, good old lesser celandine, Wordsworth's favorite flower. Also a member of the buttercup family. But…and this it the noteworthy difference…far less invasive. The same woods where these winter anconites grow is also chocked to the brim with lesser celandine—which will bloom hereabouts in about a month. They look a lot lot alike, too, though the anconites are a richer, darker yellow, I think.

I've known this patch of winter anconites since I was a boy—or as my grandfather might have put it, since Hector was a pup. (My daughter would say "back in olden days.) In all those decades, I don't think it has spread twenty yards, though the surrounding woods and riverine floodplain are identical. It just stays more or less put.

Too, the plants don't grow nearly so dense. For my photos, I purposely picked the massed areas for shots. But even there, you can see other things poking through—and in a few weeks, all the usual native wildflowers will be up and blooming. Also, these anconites bloom early, before almost anything else, and they're mostly gone by the time trout lilies, bloodroot, spring beauties, bluets, and all the rest appear—so I don't think they do much harm.

As to your beloved lesser celandines—calm down, I'm just jerking your chain a little—they are really, really pretty, in a smothering, overpowering sort of way. (Sort of like one of my old girlfriends.) Like 'em or hate 'em, they're probably here to stay. And I do know "pretty" doesn't cancel out all the damage they're doing…but I expect this is reality. Personally, I'd be happy seeing a quarter-acre patch of lesser celandines here and there, instead of a gazillion covering miles of streambanks, floodplains—and at least hereabouts—upland woods a mile from any creek or river.

But bottom line, winter anconites are better behaved buttercups.

Bonnie said...

I have no visible indication of inflammation either - no warmth, swelling, etc. - so that is apparently not a key criteria to diagnose inflammation. As you say it must be inflammation that is deep.

Good thoughts coming your way. So sorry you are experiencing this.

Hildred and Charles said...

Thank you for the lovely golden carpet round your feet.

I am so sorry about the pain you are having, - I have been skipping through a book by Melanie Thernstrom 'The Pain Chronicles' - reading parts marked by my our son who has for the past two years been incapacitated by severe pain. I wish I could offer a remedy, but time and a good therapist seem the best answers.

Grizz………… said...

Bonnie…

I'm doing ice packs tonight, and will continue at least through the weekend three or more times per day. I appreciate the update re. the fact that a lack of the usual inflammation signs apparently doesn't mean there isn't some deep-seated inflammation. I hate having problems such as this, don't mean to keep whining about them, either.

Again, thank you.

Grizz………… said...

Hildred and Charles…

You're probably right re. the need to give things time. I know that, too…but it suddenly pretty out and I want to be out, doing stuff, enjoying the unfolding spring. Impatience is often the issue with us; we always want our problems fixed yesterday.

Time I can do. The "good therapist" part is more problematic since Myladylove just changed jobs and the new insurance won't kick in until July.

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ-

oh such beautiful pictures - a blanket of new life to soothe our Winter souls. So sorry about your knee pain. Mine lasted 4 months, from August to November - I did physical therapy and had cordizone shots in my knee twice. I have also had coedizone shots in my hip and those joints on each side of my lower back. The shots work Grizz, and quickly. It was 68 degrees here today -breezy and lovely. We are gathering kindling wood, yes, kindling for next Winter. Now is the time. Saturday we are having dear friends for dinner - and making some new appetizers and a new summer squash casserole too. We are grilling pork tenderloin medallions that we have marinating in a greek dressing and we serve a fig sauce spread to dip it in. It is SO good. We are just SO happy to be together and have the time. ya know? Happy weekend to you and your lady.
Love Gail
peace.....

Grizz………… said...

Gail…

Geeze…four months! That had to be awful. I'm glad you found some relief in the cortisone shots. Hope my situation doesn't come to that.

It's great to hear you've received some nice weather, too. It was another lovely day here for the most part, and tomorrow is supposed to be nice and sunny, though in the mid-50s instead of the upper-60s. But I'll take it, nevertheless. I need to start collecting kindling, too. I pick up some in the yard, but pull most of what I need from the river, which then gets sawed to proper length.

Your meal sounds good. Don't know what we'll do, but seeing as how tomorrow is going to be nice, maybe fix something on the grill. I made a pot of lentil soup yesterday, which was even better for this evening's dinner.

Take care of yourself and enjoy your weekend. We're just overjoyed to suddenly have all this time together—we barely know what to do with ourselves. Glad you liked the anconite pix.

AfromTo said...

Thanks for the sunny flood of flora-I have 2 friends who both have had knee replacement surgeries and been transformed to painless lives.One even lost 30lbs after due to all the exercise he gets now.(both knees done)Maybe your next step?or a hottub on the porch?

Grizz………… said...

AfromTo said...

I've never had the first knee problems until this—and I'm not even sure it's my knee rather than hip or leg. I would love to have a hot tub, and have been talking about getting one for years. It would almost certainly help my back. As the knee surgery, I'll have to reach the point of incapacitation before I go that route. An acquaintance had knee replacement last year, and did a few days later from a blood clot. I understand the odds of that happening are long…but I also remember the old gambler's dictum that "odds are for suckers." However any gamble plays out, for the individual, it's always 100 percent. I'll put up with a lot of pain first. But I could be a real terror if I have to take up walking with a cane!