Leaving the Garden
I’m flying to Santa Rosa today, but my body wants to be home. As a form of protest, it spent the last 5 days plaguing me with intermittent fever and fatigue. I stayed in bed for a few days and ate nothing, woke up hot from the inside and cold from the outside. Things are out of balance. I lost 6 pounds in a heartbeat. I could only stare at food I normally love.
When I got home from Tuscany, the house was perfect: clean and orderly and rearranged. In the garden, Sal had spent time edging and building little stone walls, arrangements of pots and lanterns and little things we’ve collected over time. Rocks from here or there. Shells. Wildflowers were blooming in the back beds – unexpected orange among the morose dark greens of the shade plants. The fern transplant looked exuberant, the hosta has polished up the lime green edges of its leaves for me.
The main beds were flush with baby greens and fledgling tomato pants – only five this year, he tells me. “You’re going to be gone all summer.”
I’m going to be gone all summer. And I’ve already been gone all spring. What will happen in the fall? Road World Championships in the Netherlands. Another trip to Europe. Just now as I’m writing this I’ve remembered that I have to head to Philly in two weeks for a gig.
The most interesting thing about building my life around so many monuments (Flanders! Tuscany! the tour! The tour!) is that I’ve realized how monumental orange wildflowers in geometric flowerbeds can be. Add to that a gut check from my body, the very real limitations of my entire system. Here I was worried about the strength of my legs and I’ve forgotten that fatigue is a cumulative force that weighs heavy on organs and the nervous system and all those little intricate parts of my body that need to be respected.
When I get to France my pedaling will be faith-based, underpinned with a solid run of training. Who knows what will happen to my body under so much stress, the pressure of riding and surviving and transferring and re-packing bags each day. Will it be fun? Probably sometimes.
Mostly though I see it now as a really pronounced line in the sand of my life. And what happens after our ride in France will be far more interesting than what happens during.
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