Such a nice practice today

From the first inhale to the last exhale before Savasana, it was 64 minutes. While certain aspects of my practice are in recovery mode (e.g., I used to be able to self-bind in Supta K; now I need the assist), one aspect of my practice is better than ever: my focus. I don’t fiddle, I don’t dawdle. I don’t do research poses. I just whip through the whole thing, trying to stay synchronized between movement and breath. And it’s working.

Had a strong bind in Supta K, so strong that I kind of expected that I wouldn’t lose it when my ankles crossed behind my head. Well, not immediately, at least. The behind-the-head action is so intense, that I just automatically let my hands spring apart. Gotta work on that. Then Stan brought them back together and he helped me hold them together as I took my five breaths. Then for the first time, ever, I think, I pressed up with the ankles still crossed. Dwi Pada!

Tomorrow I have to skip because it’s an all-day class trip with my Sixth Grader. Something with Connecticut and a boat, and, I suppose, marine life. I will try to get to the gym after we return – but that will be around 5 p.m., and I don’t know what I am going to want to do at that point. I tend to feel exhausted after having to be in one place, sort of against my will, for such a long time. It’s a great mental effort.

After practice today, Gina and I went over to Home Depot and purchased, between the two of us nearly 60 cubic feet of beautiful brown mulch. I raced home and got my portion all spread out. I’ve already put 48 cubic feet down, and I probably still need about 50 more. This is the first time I’ve ever mulched my garden beds. It looks so neat and pretty! And my hope is to avoid the intense weeds I’ve been dealing with for the past four summers. Also, I feel as if the plants that have been mulched are healthier and happier – they don’t seem to be as wilty in the afternoon. The mulch seems to keep the ground cooler and moister…a plus when you have heavy clay soil like we do up here in northern Westchester.

I also spent a bit of time doing my ritual smackdown of Bittersweet vine. That stuff is evil. It’s like garden cancer. It spreads underground in long, ropy underground vines. The underground vines choke off any plant roots in their way. And then each vine then sends up shoots that if allowed to grow unchecked, will wrap around trees and become woody and thick, eventually melding with the trees around which they are wrapped, killing them dead. Like I said, it’s like garden cancer. You can tell Bittersweet by its orange root. And the vines have orange bark. And they’re ropy and almost elastic before they turn into wood. Oh yeah, and Bittersweet also bears fruit. And when the fruit is finished, it spills all over the place, releasing seeds which can survive all winter long, bringing thousands of new bittersweet seedlings in the spring.

Last year, before I had my surgery, I made it my fulltime job to rid my garden of as much bittersweet as I could with the goal being to never ever ever allow another bittersweet vine to ripen into the fruit stage. I dug up every seedling, and I chopped down every climber. Then I dug up as many vines as I could. In some areas, this required me to dig up an entire flower bed or section of lawn. It was a vast, overwhelming job. And at the end of the summer, I thought I was done with Bittersweet forever.

Nope. There will always be more. It’s like a chronic illness, like a cancer that has become systemic in the garden. You hope to contain it. That’s what I’m hoping at least. Today, I dug up two wheelbarrows full of shoots and vines. But that is a HUGE improvement from where I was at this time last year, with bag after bag after bag (big, garbage can size paper gardening bags) of the evil, vile stuff.

Sometimes I have fantasies of just bulldozing my entire property to get rid of every last bit of Bittersweet. But then what would I do with all of my hydrangeas??



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