The summer of my 13th year, my girlfriends and I discovered that there had once been a swimming pool in the front yard of a neighbors’ house. We immediately decided to clear it out and make it into a swimming pool again.
We collected whatever digging implements we could find and the five of us went forward to commence the project. We tried the various shovels, most of which were really spades designed for garden work and eventually decided to try the bigger shovels to see if we could make more progress that way.
Bigger shovels were in short supply, so I decided to use the big pickax. I think this is when my back problems began because scrawny little me swung the pick backward and I heard a snap accompanied by a sharp pain in my back. Probably that was the first of several vertebrae to bite the big one.
I immediately abandoned the project of building our own swimming hole and hobbled home. I said I’d hurt my back.
No one paid me much attention to it. We were always getting banged up doing something. Also, my mother was of the “old world” opinion that no one calls a doctor (much less goes to the hospital) unless they are near death. Even though I was walking bent over and couldn’t stand up? It would get better. Just another childhood bump.
It did get a little better, but it never got all the way better, so I took up riding horses next. This also didn’t fix the problem and when I fell off, it made the problem worse.
Eventually, when I was 19, surgery was required. I had begun to lose all the sensation in my right leg and most in my left leg. Also, for the first time in years, my back didn’t hurt. It was numb.
Most youngsters damage themselves — often for a lifetime — while playing sports. I’m pretty sure I’m the only girl who did it with a pickax.
Solomon’s Seal is not merely a wildflower that has been tamed for gardens. It’s one of the few flowers that will bloom in full shade. It is architectural too. The arches of the plants rise multiple feet into the air with perfectly tidy little bells of flowers hanging beneath them.