With the summer solstice just around the corner, it's clear that summer has almost arrived. And with the season of sunshine comes the planting of my second-story window boxes, which always seems to become an ordeal. One window box gets full sun, the other, full shade. What's a symmetrically-inclined novice gardener like me to do?
I usually go with some sort of impatiens/vinca/begonia combination...but this year, I'm going with all impatiens. I know - my full sun box is going to hate life, but I'm determined to keep it watered and looking full and lush. Fingers (and thumbs, which aren't very green) crossed!
That said, watering those boxes is always a chore. Neither box is in a very convenient location - they're the two farthest rooms from the water source, in opposite directions, and both have a shade, a screen, and window pane that I have to get through in order to water. One of the boxes, in fact, is outside Bernadette's room, so I have to plan my watering around her sleeping schedule. (Might not sound difficult...but I can assure you, it causes me much frustration!) To top it off, my mini-watering can that I keep upstairs is too small (and awkward) for the job - so each box requires two trips to the water source, and a little trail of water is left after each trip because the can isn't very well-designed. I'm telling you - I don't know why I stick with it. It's like torture year after year after year. Nonetheless, I do it, but I'm always looking for a shortcut - anything to make watering those boxes easier than the year before.
Last summer, I decided to try a shortcut, opting to use the hose from the outside to shoot water up to the second story, where ideally it would bounce off the window and drain into the window box. I'd been eyeing up my idea for weeks, dreaming about the ease and convenience of turning on the water and letting the hose do the work. But I have to admit, something told me it was a bad idea. It was like I knew there would be consequences to my attempt to cut corners, but I just couldn't help myself.
So I tried it. From down below, my shortcut seemed ideal - the flowers were getting wet, and the window appeared to be the perfect backstop. But as I watched all of the excess water drip down the side of the house, the delicate little flowers being doused with a jet stream of water, and heard the sound of water beating against the glass window, I just knew something was amiss.
And right I was. After I finished hosing down my boxes (it just sounds wrong, doesn't it?), I went inside to get something from the kitchen, and I heard the sound of running water. Or should I say rushing, gushing water from somewhere in the house. I went around the corner, and there, in the dining room, was a steady stream of water falling from the chandelier, onto the dining room table and off onto the chairs, the floor, and the rug in the adjoining room. There was a full blown waterfall, right their in my dining room. My mouth agape, I ran upstairs to where the window box was, only to see the entire corner where the window was soaked with water. My oh-so-convenient jet stream of water had seeped through the window, down the wall, into the corner and down through the ceiling to my dining room below. I was flabbergasted that my perfect little short cut could have gone so awry. That while everything seemed fairly controlled on the outside, the water was wreaking havoc on the inside.
And so goes my comparison to lupus. In my 10 and 1/2 years with the disease, I've made dozens of attempts to cut corners - trying every which way to trick the disease into behaving, rather than putting in the hard work I know is required to get better and live well. I know there will be consequences to my scheming actions, and I know that a strategy that requires little to no effort usually yields little to no result, but I try, nonetheless. And it never, ever works. And yes, on the outside, my body may look fine, but inside, the disease is, no doubt, wreaking havoc. And that misconception - that deliberate attempt to ignore the signals our body is sending us (much like the pounding water against the window) - is where we go wrong.
I'll admit - sometimes, the signs aren't as obvious. Sometimes it's just a hunch...like the blast of water that just doesn't seem right for those sweet little flowers...but it's that hunch that can make or break our lives with lupus. Maybe this summer - we can commit to doing things the right way, albeit the long and tedious way:
Wearing sunscreen everyday, whether you want to spend the extra few minutes lathering up or not.
Getting enough rest at night, even if those late summer evenings are calling your name.
Keeping those doctor's appointments, even when your summer vacation schedule doesn't allow for it.
Or maybe it's wearing a hat, taking your meds, or eating well. Whatever it is, here's to putting in the effort to living well. It's bound to be worth it!