A learning process.

Earlier this year, I broke a toe. The middle toe on my right foot, in an incident that lacks any form of an interesting story. (My major advisor asked if I had fallen off a boat; that would have been a much better tale than the truth: stubbing it into a chair leg.) Toe injuries are slow to heal, particularly when you drop a half liter bottle of conditioner on the damaged site a few days later. But it did heal, and I’m no longer stuck taping my toes together.
I finally rejoined my gym a few weeks ago, a big step – if you’ll pardon the pun. This is a barre gym, one where you often spend time balancing on your toes while gripping a ball in your hands, so I had avoided returning. Now, some sessions in, I can feel my leg having trouble responding, and it sucks. It’s weak, delicate. I once could balance easily on one foot in convoluted poses, but months with a limp aren’t going to mysteriously go away on their own. I feel like a minor athlete returning to the field with all the knowledge of their past glory but their body unable to keep up. But it’s also enlightening – returning to the basics has made me more aware of my movements in class. I’m more careful, more cautious, and becoming a much better student for it.
This summer has felt like that. My research has stymied due to bad data – I need to spend this month researching grants for a new camera, a $600 beauty that might actually get me night photos. I’m learning how to shoot macro on a tripod, avoid injuring my wrists more, and producing regular content for two publications. Yeah, yeah, it’s all whining, and almost everything I’m doing is brand new to me. I’d never been to New Orleans, and I certainly had not planned for how the last few months have played out. And it’s all because I finally broke down and bought a camera, and trekked it out in the snow.
Now, there have been more setbacks than that, and more frustrations. But today I’m dealing with my little yard being an aphid hotbed, and researching remedies. (I’d like my tomatoes to survive.) Apparently I planted my nasturtiums too close to everything else, so they didn’t work as well for aphid bait. And our neighbors have blackberry brambles creeping over the fence. It feels like a lifetime ago that I was out cutting brambles down with a machete, even if I have the scars to prove it.
But blackberries are at least a delicious frustration. I’m all for promoting eating our native blackberry, the trailing blackberry Rubus discolor, but Himalayan blackberries are still tasty when they’re fighting your fence for dominance. So, I did what I do best – I made a sundae. I love the combination of berries and almonds, so some sliced almonds went in, and some of the Caramelia pearls because they were there. It was sweet and fragrant, reminding me of the summer I’m trying to avoid by hiding in my air conditioned house.

So it’s all a learning process. Maybe I just need more excuses to make dessert.

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