There were things that concerned me at the start of today. I wanted to dig over a patch of ground that I started a week or two ago. I have had a troubled back. Even when I dug a hole to bury our cat the other night my back began to hurt. So I was dreading digging this patch of ground. My dread was not that the back hurts really bad, but if it happens so easily it means that I AM getting old and frail. For years I have been bullet proof. I have been able to dig for hours and not worry. I could mix concrete, or dig holes, or lift heavy building stuff for hours, others would complain of back problems but not me. But this year my back has "gone out" and caused problems. The reason I dread a habitual bad back is that I have an acre of ground here. Apart from a not very well looked after vegetable garden, I cannot do much with it at the moment, my life is too full of other activity. But I am looking forward to three years time when I retire, and I can show the world how self-sufficient one can be on an acre. My fear is that in three years time I will not be fit enough to enjoy my acre! I may be too old and frail to do all that I will want to do. So I was fearful that digging this patch of ground might confirm that my back can't take it any more.
The second thing I discovered was that the application form for this possible job asks about backs and heavy lifting. It asks if you have had any injury from heavy lifting. It asks if you have had days off in your current employment, and how many and what for? It asks if you have had ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) claims? Now it just so happens that a few months ago I had a day off work, my first sick day in years. It was for a back injury that happened at work and I did go to a physiotherapist, and he claimed through ACC. That will not look good on an application form, especially lined up with my age... 62. People looking at that will think "an unfit old man with back problems! We wont touch him!" No matter that I can still run a reasonable distance. It won't matter that it was my first day off in years. It just won't look good.
Well I dug a patch of ground today. Then I planted a full row of potatoes in another patch of ground. When I finished I realised I had been perspiring quite readily. I worked hard, but apart from a healthy tired feel, my back stayed together fine and feels good. My confidence in my physical ability to work has increased. Maybe I will get to enjoy my acre in three years time after all?
A great walk...
After my gardening efforts I wanted some aerobic exercise. I decided that rather than just walking up my mountain, Mount Cargill, I would try another walk I had not tried for quite a few months. I went up to a car park that is called "the Bullring". From there I walked up to a summit that overlooks the city called Flagstaff. It was about a 20 minute walk. I carried on past that, to where it joins the "Pineapple Track" then went across to join the "Swampy Summit ridge track". I walked into the Swampy Summit micro-wave towers. I stopped briefly there to have a drink and some fruit, then headed back along the track, coming back to the "Bullring" along the Firebreak track. Last time I did this walk I thought I did it fairly fast and completed it in just five minutes (I think) under the three hour mark. Today I really pushed myself. As I came up to the towers I realised I had sweat running down my face and dripping off my chin; I was walking while holding the straps of my back pack and sweat was dripping off my elbows. On the way down I jogged a few places where the track was not so rough. I was back at my van in 2 hours twenty five minutes! I was so wrapped! I knew as I went up the steep hills involved that I was handling them a way better than the time before. It felt good to actually be fitter. My mountain climbing, my jogging and my biking are paying off. I may be getting older but I am still doing OK!
It is funny how easily your confidence in your abilities can be shaken and you can decide you're past it. I was pleased, that in both my gardening and my exercise, I experienced the opposite today. (Though I have had cramp while sitting at this desk.)
Now this application for a new job? What am I to do?
I loved walking in the tussock country today. Ever since I was a boy and wandered around my uncle's high country sheep run, tussock country gives me a feeling of freedom. But as I came to a junction in the track today, I remembered that in my life I am at a junction. Do I give up on my career in the church and take an easier secular job? Or do I hang in there in spite of setbacks and difficulties? The application form sits beside me now on my desk. I have not heard back from my last enquiry. I wanted to know how much per hour they were paying. I expect a decrease in wages, but I need to know by how much. Watch this space.
-The "pretty city" (Dunedin) from Flagstaff summit.
-Hills and tussock country "free my spirit".
-There is a line of old fence posts just off the track. I would love to know who put them there, when and why?
-My goal... a micro wave tower on Swampy Summit.