A chewer of pinesap

Last week for no known reason, the pain in my shoulders went away for the first time in four years, and the fire in my shinbones eased up too. How sweet it was to sleep without being continually awakened by pain. “Oh, boy,” I exulted, “I can finally get caught up with my work.”

To that end, I built a 24-foot (7.3 meter) ladder out of 2x4s, and got three people to help me raise it to the first limb of my Ponderosa Pine. I then spent part of two days in the top of the Ponderosa removing limbs that overhung the house. I would first tie them to the trunk, and, after they were severed, move down the trunk cutting them into small sections that I then dropped to the ground. I went to bed each night happier than I’ve been in years as I anticipated continuing my work the next day despite that fact that my muscles are so atropied that the job was far harder than when I last did it.

I wasn’t through with my work on the third day, but Peggy wanted to wash the outside of the house—another long neglected job—with rags and brushes, and I felt obligated to help. This job occupied part of three days, and we finished it yesterday. Last night, the fire returned to my shinbones, and my shoulders hurt so much that sleep was impossible even with ice and narcotics. We still have a fence and a storage shed to wash, plus I left my ropes and tools high in the tree so I wouldn’t have to hoist them up again. I’m hoping the pain will ease up enough that I can at least retrieve them before it rains on Sunday.

You might point out that I took on too much too fast, and I won’t argue with that, but I’m as hungry for work as a man who hasn’t eaten in weeks is hungry for food. Work gave me purpose, and enabled me to feel that I earned the food I put in my mouth. During my years in pain, I could still attend to business and was eventually able to do light housework. More recently, I’ve even been able to do yard work, but hard and challenging labor was what I most loved and craved, and it is also what Peggy is the least able to do. She often urged me to hire various jobs done so that they would at least have gotten done, but that would have represented so great a failure that I would have been hard pressed to bear it.

While I was in the tree, I chewed pinesap, and its sweetness and the joy I took in my work are still fresh in my memory. I can but hope that I’m able to return to them soon.

39 comments:

Lydia said...

If anyone deserves more time up in the tree chewing pinesap it is you. I hope this latest flare-up is the last one. Best wishes to you.

Natalie said...

Hooray! I am so glad there is a light shining in your tunnel. xx♥

Jessie said...

You are a remarkable man, Snow. I'm glad your pain was eased, if only for a little while. You and your wife sound like you make quite a team!

All Consuming said...

Building a ladder then climbing it. In this day and age that's pretty impressive, in fact the whole post is, pictures an all! Love seeing you smiling. x

Elisabeth said...

Work is one of the great joys of life, Snow. It gives meaning ad purpose.

The image of you tasting the pine sap is wonderful. May the opportunity return soon.

kylie said...

fantastic news, snow!
i know the pain is back but even a brief respite must encourage you to believe it can happen again, a few good jobs done and some pinesap to chew make snow a happy man.
who knows what you'll be up to next ;)

The Blog Fodder said...

Good to hear the pain went away for a while even. Maybe it will go away again and you can grab a few more days work. Lets hope so.

Sonia ;) said...

I know how it feels to enjoy or over indulge on the days that you do get that you feel great and they are far and in between the bad ones. So no I wont say you did too much, because it can be short lived and it feels great those moments you do get....So you are a tree hugger huh?

xoxox Love ya Buddy

ellen abbott said...

I'd have done the same.

yoborobo said...

There is nothing like pinesap. :) I usually get it in my hair. It's worth it.

Marion said...

Snow, I was hollering for you to SLOW DOWN the minute I started reading. But I totally understand. When I have a good day, I clean house and then suffer the next day...but in a clean house. LOL!

Glad you're having better days. Blessings!!

pink dogwood said...

I am so happy to hear that you felt good enough to climb the tree. I know exactly what you mean when you say you crave hard work. I am training to run a half marathon, but I signed up too late then trained too hard and now my hip hurts. I know it is an injury and I need to give it the time it needs. But I can't help it. I didn't run for a week, then tried running just one mile this morning and it hurts again. I might have to just walk this half marathon or not do it at all, but I get very impatient the time that it takes to heal and I want to get back into running.

I hope your pains subside soon and then you are back up on that tree.

Gaston Studio said...

This post resonated with me so much Snow, as I too crave physical work which I'm often not allowed due to a really bad sacrollliac joint. I would have done exactly what you did: with little or no pain, jumped into the thoes of work with no thought of the consequences, simnply because it needed to be done and it would have given me tremendous pleasure to do it myself.

Myrna R. said...

I hope the pain subsides. I know it's frustrating when there's so much to do, and one is unable to do it. And pain is so unpredictable. It seems to grab and release at whim.

Take care.

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

I too have felt the surprise of suddenly being pain free. There is such joy and the NEED to move again! I hope you have many more pain-free days! They are joyous indeed!

The Tusk said...

so kundalini yoga, belief in tantric had nothing to do with this. I once heard carrots are good for your eyesight. ahhhh rubbish. I know how frustrating lack of sleep can be, and the games it can play with psyche.

One question if I may, Did you see any bees up there when you were chewing on the pinesap?

Second question if allowed, Any intention of building a wooden boat next?

Snowbrush said...

Tusk, as per your questions, bees don't pollinate pine trees to my knowledge, and I have no boat building plans. Boat-building is so labor intensive that it practically a hobby all in itself. Did you ever see the Buster Keaton movie in which he couldn't get the boat he built out of his basement?

Crazed Nitwit said...

Enjoying the moments of less pain!! YES!! (fist pump) I am overwhelmingly happy for you and Peggy ~ several days of just plain normal rocks.

Zuzana said...

Your beautiful post reminds me how lucky I am to wake up every day without pain...How lucky I am to be able to do anything I want at any time, as there is no physical hindrance to prevent me from working, running, walking, sitting or doing anything else I enjoy.
Here is wishing you many more days like the ones you just had...
xoxo

Marion said...

I'm so happy to see you smiling, Snow and that's a pretty spiffy looking ladder as well!

"She often urged me to hire various jobs done so that they would at least have gotten done, but that would have represented so great a failure that I would have been hard pressed to bear it."

Is this why I can't get Graham to hire out jobs around the house!!?? He was too ill to do much of anything around the house and yard, yet there was no way he would agree with calling in a handyman. He felt he ought to be the one to do these things, he said. Failure, huh?

Years ago, as children, we couldn't wait to go find pinesap to chew. It's been a looonng time!

I'm hoping that horrid pain has eased for you since you wrote...

Simone said...

Hello Snow,
I am so glad to hear that your pain was relieved! What do you think happened? Have you been doing anything different? Great news and enjoy that sap, you deserve it! Simone

Dave said...

looks like a busy but enjoyable day for you.

Pat - Arkansas said...

I'm so glad you had a few days free of pain during which you could do what you most wanted to do. I hope your pinesap chewing days return soon. Take care.

The Tusk said...

SNOW - says - Did you ever see the Buster Keaton movie in which he couldn't get the boat he built out of his basement?

Tusk says - No -

Should I make an effort to find it in rental world somewhere, be it Blockbuster or Netflix, or borrow it from a friend or better yet secretly find it at the Library, and when checking it out say " Ohh that old thing, I don't know what I was thinking"

Snowbrush said...

Tusk, as for whether you "should" check it out, I have no idea. If you don't like silent films or films in black and white, certainly not. The title of the approximately 30 minute movie is "The Boat," and it was made in 1921. Buster Keaton did his own stunts, and was responsible for the content of his own movies until 1928 or, perhaps, '29 when he went under contract to one of the big studios, so, if I were you, and I wanted to check him out, I would avoid all of his movies from 1929 on. His movie "The General" was made 30 miles from my home in Oregon, by the way, and is quite possibly his best known.

Robert the Skeptic said...

We recently moved to a new house and I did most of the "toting" myself. The last time I attempted a move was 19 years ago.

I swear that my body felt like it had been thrown down two flights of concrete stairs! I am mostly recovered, though my elbow seems like it's going to take long-term to heal.

There are more projects around the house that the concept of "hiring" someone to do it is becoming more appealing.

The Bipolar Diva said...

First, I love your pictures! So handsome! I'm glad that you had some relief for a bit and accomplished so much! What a wonderful feeling that had to be.

Vagabonde said...

If your pain went away for a while that means that it can go away. So, let’s hope this will happen again soon.

The Tusk said...

Snow,

I love the pic with the doggy showing his tummy, My mix loves to roll over with her legs up in the air. I can generally put her to sleep this way. When I had a smaller couch, her head would hang over the edge, and at the end of the rub, she would sneeze. I found this so humorous, and use to think what a clear mind she has now that she is ready to sleep and dogs rely so much on their noses for sensory perception. I am always fascinated that they can move their nose halves in seperate directions at the same time. Does that mean they can think two thoughts simultaneously, this must be living in a seperate dimension for sure.

Snow what are your thoughts on a dog that can percieve 19 or twenty verbal commands, but most assuredly when not dreaming be able to percieve remembrances of locations from smell and air currents. Does the wind talk to them ya think?

dana said...

So many people acknowledge the rare times they are in pain or ill, while you and I acknowledge the few times we are NOT in pain.

Every time, after months have passed where I only want to crawl under a bush and sleep, I start saying things like: "Maybe I'm just lazy".

But the first day I'm able, I'm happily doing laundry, scrubbing, painting, smiling....then it's "back down again" with me lamenting: "Maybe I'm just lazy".

Mim said...

Light and tunnel for sure. Very good

Robin said...

Snow... this post is wonderful!
I can only imagine how great it was for you to be pain-free - even for a bit - and how your body was infused with the energy to work on a project. I can totally comprehend this!

Of course, I "know" it wasn't those gigantic projects that caused your body to "melt-down"....it was all the dancing at the Willow Ball!

Hugs,

♥ Robin ♥

p.s. I have never chewed Pinesap...but I think I might like it!

The Tusk said...

Love the pix of the ladder way below your feet. Very daring, ... It must be a mighty and joyous canopy you were trimming. I'm sure she doesn't look any of the worse for wear, and she still standing mighty with less treachory to the domicile. All in All kudos to a mighty warrior, you and Mr. Pinesap.

Drinking the blood of your enemy, and all its done for you. A Worthy adversary.

Diana said...

I understand about doing too much while the pain is gone. My husband always gets on me for that! But it does feel sooo good to get things done while you can. Good for you Snow and I hope you get another pain free day soon.
Love Di ♥

Bernie said...

I am so happy to read of your good days Snow.....you so deserve them.
My reader has not been showing me when anyone post and some days it isn't even there so I am sorry I am late arriving.
Be well my friend......:-) Hugs

Winifred said...

Talk about going hell for leather Snowbrush! Gald you had some relief but maybe you're taking a bit too much on.

Anyway enjoy!!!!!

Laggy said...

Snow, please check out a book. Solitude by Robert Kull..He reminds me of you. Hope u are well, your spirits certainly are. And the Big Sky move is cemented, I leave at the end of November

Joe Todd said...

Good for you Snow

Christy said...

We are, as humans, eager to take advantage of good days. Don't let it stop you from doing it again. They are wonderful memories that you will always have. I wish you many more.