I went to the gym this morning only to be confronted with too many things I couldn't do. I lurched and stumbled through my routine. I had to back off all the weights. I had to settle for the treadmill, my least favourite cardio machine. Why you may ask? Because my back has betrayed me. It has up and decided to go out on strike because I asked it to do something it has been doing without complaint for nearly forty years. Now I ask you, is that anyway to be treated? Of course not!
I know what I'm doing. I've honed my skills over the years to near perfection and great satisfaction. Like a diamond cutter choosing just the right spot to cleave a rough stone, I study each sixteen inch high piece before hefting the axe high overhead. Then with full body swing I bring it down across the wood face. A sharp decisive crack announces a perfect strike. With a straight line splintering, one becomes two. It's magic!
Though we get almost all of our firewood cut, split and delivered and have done so for the past ten years or so, I still manage to get my swings in each year. There is always dead fall to be cleared out of the forested part of our land. A week ago we set our sights on the mighty poplar which came down in a wind storm some eight months ago. Chain saw, splitting wedges, sledge hammer and wheel barrow got trekked into the woods. Umpteen loads of pre-cut logs came out. Time for my splitting skills.
|For the record, I do wear steel toed boots when working in the wood lot.|
Day 1 went really well! Though I did note a little muscle stiffness along my right side. Given size of the tree we were working I was neither surprised nor alarmed. Day 2, I threw myself once again into my work. Split wood fell left, right and centre. Then a twinge of pain developed in my left lower back, not a terrible pain but one that announced itself clearly with every swing of the ax. I finished off with half a dozen more swings, (but maybe it was double that?), then called it 'job done' for the day.
|OUCH! The sledge gave way too.|
Hindsight is such a marvellous thing - I really should have stopped at the first twinge. But I've always split wood! Every year I hone my axe swinging skills and I've never suffered more than sore triceps and abs. By last Thursday, the anticipation of the explosion of back pain suggested by a mere hint of a sneeze coming on, was enough to send me into a panic. I am somewhat improved now, no meds, and it is safe to sneeze, cough and laugh, but still I feel like an old bag of bones.
Are my axe wielding days over?
Am I really too old, as a few have suggested, to be doing this sort of thing?
Is this the beginning of back issues for me?
Will life ever the be same?
And what if...
WINE! Now there's a idea!
©2015 April Hoeller