Monday, April 25, 2011

After The Fire

Saturday’s fire opened a gap in the back of my property big enough to drive a truck through, which is why I started the fire to begin with. Three great big piles of stuff are gone, as is one felled tree, and a fire ant mound that was about two feet tall also got roasted. I don’t know why fireants can’t take the heat because they do not mind at all dishing it out. I threw in a lot of vines that I had cut off of the Oaks, and all in all it was one of the most productive fires I have ever started in my life. I got a lot of things done, and best of all, the fire stayed right where I put it. Any pilot will tell you that any landing you walk away from is a good landing, and I’ll tell you any fire that you can burn for that long and it not try to wander on you is a great fire. Some of the largest pieces of wood that were lying around are now just ash.

My back is killing me.

I knew this would happen the first time I pushed a large piece of wood upright, pushed it over, and repeated this until it was in the fire. But it felt good, I tell you, to use muscles normally dormant, and to get the arms, back, and legs involved in a full body exercise that pushed the limits as well as the logs. I knew the fire would be massive, and I knew the day would be very hot, so I decided to burn everything I could up until noon, and then let everything burn itself out. By noon, I was burned out. I went shirtless to get some sun, and was soon covered in a later of ash, grit, sweat, and grime. My boots were covered in soot and ash from stomping stray hotspots. My jeans were a mess.

My back is killing me.

It started long before the day ended, with the stiffness creeping in, and my toes becoming so far away from my hands that I could not reach them at all. That large piece that I pushed over onto the sled, yeah, I felt that one, and rolling the long piece over with a fence post for a lever, oh yeah, that one too, and that piece that wasn’t that large at all, but was trapped by another piece? I tried to lift it up in one fell swoop and felt that one too. Then there was the endless picking up and toss in of much smaller stuff, and the pulling of the vines and the pushing of the wheelbarrow, and…my back is killing me.
Saturday night I began to fade just after sundown. I couldn’t sit for very long at all without becoming paralyzed. When I tried to stand, my back remained in the sitting position, so I was bent over like some ancient old man, hey! I’m not that old. The mutts thought I was bending over to pet them so as I tried desperately to straighten up, I was getting puppy kisses. You have to idea how hard it is to be an authority figure and the leader of the pack when you cannot stand up straight. I looked like a man who was looking for something lost on the floor. Oops! I dropped a contact, no one move, just let me look for it. Why look there! The floor needs to be mopped, and there’s that cap off the water bottle I couldn’t find. Maybe I’ll just walk around like this forever. I find more things and the mutts like it. Yes, I can see where this would be a good thing.
I took a long hot bath and even though that isn’t the best thing for a sore back, it did turn me into a semi liquid state, which I was looking for anyway. The hot water relaxed me, lulled me into sleep and likely would have killed me if I stayed in another five minutes, but I had to crawl out of the tub and back into reality. I took a cold shower right after this, and that did help. Sleep was easy to find for once, but Sunday morning might have found the Easter bunny hopping around but it found me in bed, wondering how to get upright. I did some Yoga exercises in bed and some Pilates on the floor once I was able to slither out but that soreness was still there. I could walk again, but sitting still and writing made things worse. I was tottering around as if I was eighty-five and had just run a marathon with a jackal on my back. My face was also a little sunburned and I couldn’t shave. What a spooky sight was I!
Movement is the key to resolving soreness so I went out and cut more vines off the Oaks. It’s not a hard task, and the young Oaks get covered with vines if I don’t do this several times a year. After getting too tired to stand upright anyway, I went inside and lay on the floor and panted with the dogs. Summer is here early. The last two days has seen the mid nineties and it feels hotter. If this is any indication as to what is to come, I think I’ll head up to Canada or New York or something. Yet I had to keep moving and that seemed to help a lot.
This morning it isn’t nearly as bad. I can still feel the soreness and turning the wrong way, or bending over too quickly means pain, but the pain is less sharp, and less overpowering. I can touch my toes again, well, nearly almost anyway. There’s some stuff I have to take to the dump today, so I have to get it loaded up, and I wonder if tomorrow I will once again regret what I had to lift today.

Take Care,


  1. LOL. But seriously, I know just how you feel. I have had back problems since age 35, and now at 59, was diagnosed with 5 herniated discs in my back -- but no nerve involvement yet. Had physical therapy, learned a lot, but have to be careful. Yet movement IS the key to getting better.

    I kinda feel like you described the first few times I mow my yard, but during the winter, I actually get worse, stiff and sore. I also have arthritis, not real bad - but I've found it's important also to get daily exercise/activity.

    Hang in there!

  2. It's been a good day to write here, but it has also been hellish if I sit too long, so I'm writing then walking and then...

    You are right about the daily exercise!