I would like to say that it started the weekend Auburn played Georgia. You need someone to blame. We had many Georgia friends and family join us at our tailgate. I climbed a ladder to plant fresh flowers in our window box. That is when my pain started.
It was painful enough to lose a game that we might have won against the #1 ranked team in the country. The nerve pain that started from my back down to my foot began that weekend but had nothing to do with the game. It is a result of arthritis in my back that causes the discs in my back to bulge. Still, it is fun to blame the Dawgs.
For the past three weeks I have walked with a cane. That is hard for someone who is used to walking miles every day. It is hard to sit down, get up, stand, lay in bed, get in a car, or sit in a stadium seat. I have watched the last two Auburn games from my recliner and have missed every performance at the Gouge Performing Arts Center in the past three weeks.
I am not complaining. I have been down this road before and look forward to the relief that will come when the nerves are no longer inflamed. Patience is an acquired habit that I have thankfully become better at over time.
I have spent hours in my recliner, that place of greatest relief, and in doing so have changed my daily routine. I do not watch more television, but I do spend more time on my iPad. I have tried to make my online time more productive and useful, but with limited success. I also take more naps.
One blessing has been the beautiful weather that has allowed me to sit on our front porch more often. It is here that I noticed the butterflies in our yard. Thanks to the Firecracker plants, Coleus, and Lantana that we planted along our creek bed, the butterflies are in full force from dawn until dusk.
They are a variety of colors and put on a show that helps pass the time. Actually, they do more than that. I find my way to the porch more often just to watch the combination of the butterflies and the last blooms of our Summer flowers.
In retirement I have been as busy as I ever was as a working man. I find it interesting that it took an aching back and a painful leg to slow me down enough so I could watch and enjoy the colorful show that nature is providing for me every day.
Our neighbor, Marcia, commented today about the extremely short lifespan of these butterflies. I suppose we have watched generations flitting and flying around over these past three weeks.
As I have dealt with the challenges of being restricted to my house over the past few weeks, I am reminded of the words of Charles Dickens. “I only ask to be free. The butterflies are free.” How blessed I have been to witness their freedom. I look forward to flying soon.
Dan Ponder can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
The butterflies are free