Don’t Forget The Sun Screen

2009
04.20

First Spring Workout Since the weather is still cool, I was proud that I remembered to apply sun screen on my face and don a garden hat before heading out to weed and clean the strawberry bed this morning. I enjoy spring chores like cleaning out the gardens and tidying the strawberry bed. It is good exercise to get down on my hands and knees to weed and trim. With the protection of a garden hat and sun screen, it is easy to putter in the garden all morning.

Finally, the strawberry bed is groomed and weeded. All is right with the world! How does the poem go? “God’s in His Heaven, All’s Right with the World,” wrote Robert Browning. That man knew spring!

Time to get up and move onto the next chore. I try to stand up, but my bones start popping like a string of Black Cat firecrackers. Dizzy, I lean on the hoe, standing there for a wobbly minute until my blood remembers the circulation routine.

I am so stiff, I think about laying down in this gorgeous strawberry bed. Maybe I’ll just take a little nap right here in the sun-warmed garden soil. If I never get up, I will simply compost and improve the quality of the season’s harvest. What a way to go. What better final resting place than a garden? Gnats crawling up my nose change my mind.

Suddenly, my sweetheart bursts out of the house looking alarmed. He’s had a call from our widowed neighbor who wonders if she should call 911, or the funeral home. I get up and wave to the neighbor as I shout an explanation, “Just doing my yoga stretches outside today. I’m fine. Really.”

This is when I make every effort to step lively, as the neighbor has had her eye on my husband ever since she became a widow. Healthy men with good lawn mowers are hard to find. Not until the warm water of the evening shower hits my neck do I realize my mistake. I’ve been on my hands and knees all day. Head down, hat on, not really exposing my face to the sun at all. The back of my neck is on fire. It looks like a scalded chicken neck. My winter white skin has been exposed to the fires of hell. The sun has turned me into a one-sided redneck.


If it weren’t for the fragrance of lilacs wafting through the window, I’d be a mighty cranky, creaky gardener right now. I’m pretty sure heaven smells like lilacs in the spring. It has to, there are just too many grandmothers and gardeners there that have preceded us.

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