At The Gate

Surgery’s Surprise Blessing

On February 10th, I had rotator cuff surgery on my right shoulder. It was two months afterwards before I could lift my arm over my head. It’ll be July before I’m good to go again.

It hasn’t been much fun, and Captain Cantankerous (your editor) hasn’t always been cheerful about it. But it has had one surprise benefit: finally getting to see Spring.

One of the great gifts of gardening is seeing your plants grow—watching them go from a kernel in your palm to a sprout with one or two leaves, and then to a bushy being that changes day by day, almost right before your eyes. In your garden, you get to slow down and see nature happen.

I’ve always meant to do that with Spring itself, to spend enough time in one section of woods to watch the season slowly unfurl. But every year I was too busy to “fritter time away” like that.

After the surgery, walking was the only active thing I could do. So all this Spring, I’ve hiked an hour loop around the mountain above my home. I’ve seen speckled trout lilies and hidden jugs of wild ginger. I’ve watched the first maple flowers tint their branches, soft pastels climb the slopes as more and more trees awake, and the entire woods softly close in for another Summer. My operation gave me time, and for that—and the fact my arm should eventually heal—I am very grateful.

Pat Stone, Editor


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