I’ve blogged lots about balance as it relates to mental challenges. I’ve blogged about cancer and mental health. I’ve never blogged about MS but I have donated to it. It’s one of those diseases that isn’t obvious when you look at someone so unless you get to know them you don’t even realize what struggles they go through.
I went to Haiti with a young nurse and mother of 3 who lives with MS. A young friend, Breanne, who went to high school with my son so that’s how young, has MS. She balances her work as a primary years teacher with physical and mental health. She doesn’t let it slow her down and travels extensively despite the fact that MS sometimes makes it tricky to work around. She also regularly goes kayaking and hiking! I’ve also seen the other side of this process when it ravished one of our OR nurses in the prime of her life.
The story below is of a biking friend who speaks frankly with the MS Society about what it’s really like to live with this disease. So here is Kate’s Story.
I’m doing a 75 km bike ride up in Waskesiu in September. I’m riding on Kate’s team and am honoured to have been asked to join such an inspiring group. The ride will fun and maybe a bit painful (old tailbone injury) but more important will be the funds raised by team will go to research and treatment for MS.
The calendar reminds me that the days are getting shorter. This wheat field is a visual that reinforces that.
The sunshine hours are so precious and I’m always happy when I’m outside “puttering”. Both the veggie and the flower garden are a source of food and beauty.
When I’m not puttering I’m usually beside the mason working on the rock wall. I have a love hate relationship with rocks because after three years of back and arm strengthening work I’m like so “over it” but I can still see the beauty in the rocks.
The beauty in the next picture is more than skin deep which is good because the skin is messy! First encounter with an Arrowroot biscuit and while she really enjoyed it the result ensured a bath at Gran’s house.Whether it’s with the camera or your memory it’s good to focus on the positives and the beauty in life. It’s far too easy to get weighted down with all the negatives and the “busy”.
Ps I know this isn’t snap chat but that’s what I called my little chat that went with the snapped pictures!
Sometimes in the midst of chaos there is great beauty. The question is can we stop and recognize it. I think that all the great philosophers must have been gardeners. It gives one time to ponder and draw parallels.
As I grapple with some chaos in my life I am reminded that it’s all about balance. Madly off in all directions with no moderation at all doesn’t allow for equipoise. We all need to build in a daily reminder of gratitude. Then we can sort through the issues and figure out priorities while always keeping our core values staring at us.
I found 5 Vimy Ridge memorial poppies amongst the 2′ tall weeds. Helps bring perspective and balance.
Tonight’s post about life in the raspberry patch was preempted by the storm that blew in. After a day with a crazy hot temperature it wasn’t a big surprise. The bonus was that this one actually hit us and we got some RAIN!
A small part of the evening was spent opening windows to allow the breeze in. Storm side ones were not quite closed quickly enough and so those window sills were then wiped down. The storm then swung around and hit us from the other side while we weren’t watching which now means that 90% of the window sills in the house are clean. Bonus areas cleaned included the floors under the radiators. On the down side there are no windows open because it is raining and it’s like mega hot in our house. Raspberry lemonade to the rescue!
Tomorrow evening perhaps you will read the musings of a raspberry picker. I hope you enjoy all the pictures.
The sunlight dappled through the raspberry patch and while it was a beautiful colour it added a level of complexity to berry picking. The evening tinged light made the ripe berries hard to distinguish.
She thought maybe life’s like a raspberry patch and not a box of chocolates. Chocolates are so pedestrian; mass produced and if you read the key there aren’t even any surprises. It’s all so uniform and easy and she thought that’s not like life at all. Life isn’t easy. Those chocolates are tasty but they lack the smell, feel and taste of victory. Because each bowl of raspberries is a little victory on so many levels and that’s much more like real life is.
No there was much more to it than walking out and picking the big juicy berries on the top. She thought of all the background work that most people don’t ever consider as they eat that berry. How all that time and those little decisions ripple along and collide with the factors we can’t control. The best maintained berry patch can be levelled by a hail storm so intense that there is nothing left but beat up old canes. The new strapping plants growing so pristinely for next year are desecrated.
That’s what life is like she thought. Hail could so be a metaphor for a crisis like a car accident that claims a young life and cripples someone in their grief. Raspberry blight was like that bloody cancer. The one that robs young, old and in betweens of the life they wanted to live. Instead it replaces it with something they never dreamt could happen to them. Cane rot requires the whole patch be burnt and relocated which she reflected, was what those who had lost their relationships or their jobs were often forced to do.
Better to live through a drought, she thought, even though that had its downsides as well. Less berries with a lower quality and perhaps there was some lesson to be learnt there as well. That smaller bowl was worthy of the same respect as the big juicy bowl full of prime berries. That analogy seemed to elude her grasp and yet sat in front of her face but the metaphor wasn’t jumping up at her. Ps late at night these two thoughts intruded: racism and or white privilege.
Pulling her mind back to the picking of the berries she mulled over that the work of keeping raspberries. The mulching, weeding, cutting back of the floricane at the year end so that the primocane could flourish the following year and the disposal of the canes. Those maintenance items were like seeing brushing your teeth, eating properly, getting enough sleep and stretching. Those self care items that people neglect on themselves but will take care of for others or as it turns out for plants. Perhaps the bees were sent along to help like friends do in real life.
But if the care of them was like self care she rationalized then the use of the berries was like the sweet things in life. Preserving the berries for a cold winters day or eating them fresh with farm cream was hugs and laughter all around. And if life handed you little raspberries then make lemonade. Now that was an analogy she could get behind; that some times difficult situations force us to respond to find the best possible outcome. Yes life definitely was like that.
Perhaps I’ve been spending too much time alone in the raspberry patch!
I am most definitely not having a staycation. By it’s very definition it doesn’t describe what I’ve done in my week “off”.
This first week off is always spent balancing between full on construction work (more on that later in the other blog) and gardening. The peas, beans and raspberries are all ready so I’m squeezing in picking and processing around loads of mortar mixed and rocks set. Add some laundry, house cleaning (well only a tiny tiny tiny little bit of that to be honest) and some financial catch up and hat has filled almost every moment of my first 7 days off.
I did make time to go to Lathey Pool with my baby and her baby. Outdoor swimming, followed by an ice cream sundae at the 8th street DQ, was a summer tradition for well over a decade at our house. My friend discovered Spencer’s first tooth at George Ward Pool. Alyssa’s first set of swimming lessons was at Lathey pool — apparently it looks a lot smaller as an adult than as a child! We had a lovely time introducing Baby A to swimming. She likes it a lot better than the tub apparently.
Soccer and biking (last official ride of the season) have both put in an appearance this week and a couple of evenings by the fire pit were lovely. But no other staycation type activities as it always seems like there is a lot of work to catch up on.
BUT before you give me the gears about not slowing down to smell the roses know that a)I love time in the garden and the kitchen, b)time spent at home, to me, is quality time cause I’m pretty darn lucky with where I live and c)we have something else planned for next week and d)I find beauty where I look.
There was a show a few years back where “they” picked apart someone’s sense of style and their wardrobe. Tips were given for shopping and some money and off they went to reinvent their own look but much more tastefully.
Well yes I could have been a participant on it except that I’d bloody well refuse to Continue reading →