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A Not Insignificant Reason For Continued Good Self-Management

Eric Lagergren

April 15, 2010

Spring.

That’s it. That’s the end of this week’s blog entry.

I mean, there are dozens, hundreds — OK, actually, probably thousands — of reasons I have or could think of for ensuring I take good care of myself and pay attention to my diabetes so that I have a full and complication-free life ahead of me. Family, friends, all that.

But spring! It’s here, and it’s delightful. And if nothing else, you, too — if you’re from somewhere that endures winters — should count spring among your many reasons to keep your diabetes under control.

Why? Come on! Don’t you want to stick around for as many of these seasons as you can?

I live in Michigan, where winter begins sometime in November and carries on through March, often into April. This year it seems that spring’s a few weeks ahead of time, but rather than politicize its early arrival and get all global-warmy and woe-is-me it’s too early, this year, at least, I’m embracing its arrival no matter when.

I’m also embracing fully my flower garden.

Flowers. They’re really the impetus for my writing today. I’ve mentioned over the years my addiction to flower gardening and how, since 2007 (coincidentally or not, the same year I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes), my warm-weather passion has been transforming half of our property into perennial flower beds.

Last night upon arriving home from work, with the evening temperatures in the low 60s, I dropped my work bag inside, stepped onto the front porch to grab the mail, and then walked the yard. For an hour. Meandering, looking, gazing, watching to see how significant the changes are to the sprouting plants from the previous day, from where they were last weekend, and how incredibly quickly things have changed from two weeks ago, from last month.

It’s heartening. It’s sensory overload. It’s time for me to be contemplative, appreciative.

And, of course, I’m aware during all of this that my health allows me to take it in, as well as makes me want to avoid diabetic complications.

I need to see this every year. Those first crocuses in mid March, the daffodils dotting the flower beds in random patterns, the species tulips returning in thick bunches in brilliant reds and oranges and purples. I want to be able to continue to squat down beside a patch of inch-high coneflower that’s just poking up through the mulch and brush away some of the leaves to reveal purple and green new growth, or sit cross-legged comfortably for an afternoon in a corner of the yard weeding an area around daylilies, pulling away from individual stems last year’s leaves all brown and decayed; I derive more satisfaction than you may ever know from the slight hold those dead leaves have on the new growth, and how easily after a tug or two they ease their grip and let loose, revealing brilliant new green beneath.

And barefoot? It’s almost (if not already) barefoot yard time. Walk through the grass with me. Take off your shoes (the yard’s free of any dangerous pokey things, so fear not). Dig your toe a bit into the soil, or brush your hand over the foot-high ornamental grasses and feel how soft they are. Enjoy with me this connection to the earth, to who we are, to being alive.



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