A week and a half ago I discovered that under the years of dead leaves that had decayed into two inches of dirt, I had a concrete walkway along the side of my house. I raked and shoveled it clear, thus creating a big pile of dirt to dispose of. The city comes around periodically for just this sort of thing so I hauled it out front. Since I had an only partially dismantled fence to port it through, I had to lift it. No place for wheelbarrows. My first attempt was to shovel it onto a tarp and wrap that up and carry it. Bad idea.
I’m strong and got the job done but a day and a half later I couldn’t get out of bed. Not right away. I managed, and went about life, but from then on my lower back hurt like the dickens when I attempted to use it for almost anything. Ibuprofen made zero difference. A massage might have, but I didn’t make the request. I felt fairly debilitated; but not with nearly so much pain as my housemate endures all the time, so I tried not to complain. And over time the pain subsided, as muscle-strain pain will.
All but one sharp point of pain about three inches to the right of my spine in the concave curvature. That one ain’t going away. It pulls me up short at unexpected moments. I’ve a growing sense that finally, after all these years, I’ve done some damage that time and hot water jets cannot repair. I guess it’s my welcome to being almost sixty.
(Which chronological fact is hard to internalize given how many of my friends are between 28 and 45 …)