Monday, 25 August 2008

Forced Rest

A fortnight ago I was trying to uncover such cobbles in the yard, when I sustained an injury. At the time it seemed nothing – I simply jarred my leg as my spade hit stone, it was sore that's all. I then compounded this by taking a long walk in the forest looking for mushrooms. It had been my intention to have a brief fungus foray, to gather just enough to give me something special for breakfast, but the farmer had put a bull in the field which the footpath crossed on my way to the woods and I only discovered this when the bull blocked the path behind me. I therefore had a longer trek of it than intended, meeting my friend on the road at the far end of the woods four hours later. During that time the soreness in my shin grew, aggravated by the walking boots I had on. But still I ignored it. On the Sunday I went into Cesky Krumlov by train, this required walking down the hill to the station and down another even steeper one into Cesky Krumlov. By the time I got to the old town gates I was in agony.

So I was forced to respect my injury. I had been half expecting something like this, over the last six months I have worked too hard and experienced too much stress, As I said to my Czech friend this is my body's way of telling me to put my feet up. It was as if I am being told that it is all very well thinking that working on the house, digging the garden and chopping wood, is relaxation, it is not, it is just another form of work. I was being told that dashing off to Krumlov to the internet cafe to check on whether the world out there wants me was and is folly and that even if it does, now is not the time to respond. Instead I must sit in the sun and read and write. Instead of seeking stimulus, I must let it come to me and be open to the little things that would otherwise pass unnoticed.

And so it was that I was sitting on the old sleepers in the yard, when there was a scuttling at my feet. A small lizard with a skin like jewels appeared and disappeared from under the granite flagstones next to me. He scanned the air, his head moving from side to side, tongue flicking in and out as if tasting my presence. I watched him absorbed in his hide and seek, and saw his sides moving as he breathed. When I was a little girl I had a lizard as a pet – I kept him in an old ceramic sink in the greenhouse. His name was Sidney – I can't remember why, only that it was Sidney – and I had won him as a prize for a school project. Despite my feeding him spiders and other goodies, he didn't last very long. This Czech lizard has more of a chance, with a whole garden full of prey and crevices to hide in.

PS After a week in which I have read three novels and watched four films, improved my suntan and my friend's website, my foot seemed to have recovered. I will try and learn from this lesson in listening to my body – of course I won't but one can always try.

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