Saturday, May 24, 2008

Life 1, Laptop Zero.

I have like zero desire to blog lately, mainly because I am so busy interacting with people in real life, people like my kids, my yoga friends, my mom friends, my family. Some of that interaction is in person, some on the phone, and a bit is via email. I'm also very very engaged in bringing my garden to life. And then there is, of course, the yoga.

The gardening has become a bit of an obsession. The obsession took hold when I realized that this property is so incredibly full of life, life that I did not know existed when I moved in last summer after the growing season had already ended. When I moved in, all seven Peony plants were leggy shadows of what they should have been, victims of root rot, probably caused by a failure to fertilize and water sufficiently (causing stress; plants, like humans become susceptible to illness when stressed). I cut what was left back, grossed out as I was by the rot. I was certain that the plants were gone forever. Lo and behold, they are bursting with life this spring.

Same with the climbing mini roses near my porch. And the PeeGee Hydrangea tree that looked fine last year but is absolutely exploding with life this year, thanks to a bit of sulfur I added to the soil. Hydrangeas do love getting their fix of acid.

I've come to terms with my love for Hydrangeas, particularly the mophead variety, and I've decided to stop being so proud and just plant some bushes, spray with non-toxic deer-deter and hope for the best.

I've planted bulbs, I've planted some foundation plants in my Woodland Garden area - Holly, Cypress (bring on the deer-deter for those babies), Rhodes and Azaleas (shade lovers all, and deer-bait, so again, bring on that deer-deter spray, which, by the way, consists of nothing more than citrus juice, hot pepper and garlic; apparently, spicy food does not agree with our white-fluffy-tailed friends).

And I've resisted the urge to dabble in annuals, except for about four Dahlias and a couple of Wave Petunias. I just can't bear to see them die off at the end of the summer, never to return again. No matter how delectable they look, I just can't do it.

But my biggest labor of love is my Woodland Garden. It's funny to hear myself call it a garden when right now it's nothing more than dirt, rocks and some worn-out trees (and some new baby trees, as noted above). With the help of my kids, I've mapped out about two-thirds of the space already, with winding, twisting paths bordered by stones of all shapes and sizes. I'm going to pause there for a while and begin to replace all small stones with larger, heavier stones that will withstand the gardener's leaf-blowing come fall. I'm also spending time raking out the remaining sticks and dusty dried leaves that have been blowing around and also filling in the potholes created by my excavating large stones. I'm using last year's "leaf mould" - Debpc, it really really really works!!! I take layers of the discarded leaves that have been decomposing since last summer and fill in the holes with them. They turn to rich, dark soil, and it is quite amazing to behold.

Maybe this will be less snooze-inducing when I can add some photos. I've been so busy out there that I can't seem to get myself with a camera in hand.

Fitting in the yoga has been difficult with this flurry of hard labor. My hands are aching, swollen and raw. I've bought new gardening gloves, and hopefully that will help. But the excavating for good stones has been grueling. Enjoyable and rewarding but grueling. Me and my shovel. It's good for the shoulders muscles. But it's hard on the body, I think. And I am covered in bruises. COVERED. It is scary looking, actually. I was happy to hear from Dr. A today, my internist, that my blood tests are all normal because I was getting worried that something was wrong with my blood with all the bruising. But it's just the hard labor and the fact that I've always bruised easily.

But the yoga is still happening. After the Monday full moon, I shala-ed on Tues (rough, rushed practice) and Wednesday (lovely, calm, unhurried). Today, Friday, Primary only, and yesterday, Thursday, my whole practice, plus some backbend research on my stepladder. Both days, at home because my kids are off from school. Both days, at night, because I was doing work outside during the daylight hours. Nice and flexy and strong, both days.

But worrisome...worrisome that I love gardening more than yoga at this point.

Worrisome that I love life more than my computer.

Why worry? Why not just accept the ebbs and flows of my life? Why not embrace the desire to connect with live things, rather than ether?

I've never been good with change, even positive change. It makes me melancholy. But I get over it.

So, a couple of random observations and notations, while I'm here with my cold, etherized laptop:

I just poured myself a glass of Silver Palm 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon. I have to say that it is the most delectable cabernet for under $20 I have ever tasted. It is just lip smackingly yummy.

I ran into Ashtangi the other day - we've had our bad moments for sure, although I think we have both been trying lately to be nice to one another in blogland. And I have to say, I have never see her look more beautiful. Just an observation. Perhaps a bit of a nonsequitur. But anyway.

I got to practice right next to my friend LGR on Wednesday. What a treat! Here's hoping he can make it on many a Wednesday. It can only be good for his practice, which is really amazing actually, especially considering how hard he works outside of his yoga practice (I am an example of his hard work, as is at least one other yogi I know!).

My nails have never been more disgusting. MUST STOP BITING. MUST. STOP. BITING.

Urdhva Dhanurasana is not even worth attempting without first making sure the chest is open. When the chest is closed off, you press your hands down and push up, but your chest is stopping it all from happening. Talk about resistance. I have consistently noticed that when I properly open up my chest before UD, I have no shoulder or wrist discomfort. But here's the to open the chest? I know that mine is slowly cracking open. Maybe more like creaking open. But it's happening. I can see it in the mirror. I can feel it in my practice.

How do I feel it? Well, for one thing, my lower back does not crunch when my chest is open. The lower back crunches when there is resistance in the chest. Without the resistance, the lower back can move freely. Just like with the shoulders and wrists. The chest controls the backbend. If it is not cooperating, there can be no joy in UD.

But how to open it up? Direct awareness to it. Relax the back while puffing the chest out. Inhale deeply. Lie on a block, arms out the sides. Stretch the arms up over the head, one at a time, opening up the armpits. Take the pits out of the armpits - de-hollow them.


But happy I blogged, incoherent as it might be.



floss69 said...

I didn't know hydrangeas like acid - great advice ! How do you add sulphur to your hydrangeas ? Can you use epsom salt or ferrous sulphate ? Also do you know hydrangeas grow very easily from cuttings. My two mophead hydrangeas were both from cuttings - very fast growing babies they are !

DebPC said...

Life, like our interests, ebbs and flows. I have lost my burning desire to run marathons. Until very recently I wanted to do one every six months or so. Now I don't really care. But I kind of care that I lost the drive, until i remind myself that it's not like I'm sitting around eating bonbons. Which it doesn't sound like you are either.

Will try with the leaves next year.

DebPC said...

PS Next time I come east I definitely want to see your landscaping work! No plans to travel there anytime soon, though.

Carl said...

There are ways to stretch just about any part of the body but not all are intuitive. Troy has an "acro yoga" sequence that works great for limbering up the whole area of the shoulderand chest. The drawback? It's acro yoga and you need an acro yoga helper. Find a way to lay face downward with supports at your upper thighs and under your elbows, with your arms rotated and bent so that your hands open toward your trapezii. It may also work if your arms are spread wide, with hands clasped behind the back of your head, but I don't know. It sounds like you're getting it worked out on your own though.

Lately, I've been rediscovering the benefits of intense passive stretching. It sounds like your surgery-damaged chest might really benefit from some of that.

stpgretchen said...

Mini suggestion - Dahlias can winter over if you bring the bulb inside and put in it in a dark bin full of peatmoss... much better to have the plants come back year and year...

eeyore said...

i like acid, too:)!

lgr said...

Whoa!!! Posting a blog after midnight with a glass of wine in hand! I can see why you're loving real life now better that blogland.

Practicing next to you at YS was fun. I was tempted to add a little R&D to my practice at one point, but go the sense it would not be tolerated by Teacher. I need to get in there mid morning more often...relaxing, not crowded, a good energy.

Your gardens sound spectaclar. The next time I am speeding through Bedford Hills, I must stop by!

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About Me

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Northern Westchester, New York, United States
I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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