Saturday, February 23, 2008

Human lightning rod

Two storms, one of them a big'un, have been promised to we folks in the North Bay this weekend. In my county we've had flood warnings and I'm on call for my job as a hospice nurse. I work nights and go wherever and whenever I'm called to the bedside of dying patients. It's a little spooky on the road at night when storms are blowing in. In areas around our large reservoir rain with winds up to 60 mph are expected and mudslides are a matter of course. One year during an evening freak storm I got snowed in (freak because it doesn't generally snow around here) and couldn't leave the patient's home until the roads were graveled in the morning. I sent the weary family member to bed and sat vigil with the patient. At 5 AM I slid my car down the driveway and onto the frozen asphalt, stopping briefly in the little village, a sturdy community built around a denominational four-year college. There I got out of my car, ate some fresh snow, threw a couple of snowballs then drove the half hour to my home to snuggle into bed with my pager and the cats until the next call came. It's a bit like being a midwife but in reverse. It's difficult, meaningful and satisfying work.
I sincerely love my profession. It's also quite draining at times and gardening is an energizing tonic for me. Talk to most nurses and eventually you'll hear them talk about creative endeavors: painting, quilting, knitting (another hospice nurse taught me to knit), sewing and of course gardening.

I just read one of Amy Stewart's blog entries in which she wrote about inclimate weather gardening. I don't like to be cold. Should I get out and finish the getting-ready-for-spring planting and cleanup, no excuses? Tree roses are expensive, for crying out loud and I have all these seeds begging to become baby plants. Some time this weekend I could be planting a rose, poking some seeds into pots and reaching my long-handled pruners over my head into the crape myrtle to become a human lightning rod in these storms. Or not.

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