A Shade of Ash # 32 – I’ll Just Leaf This Advice Right Here

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This fallen leaf. A symbol that change is necessary sometimes to achieve further growth. – Ash 

A Shade of Ash – Prompt # 1 (Haiku)

Hey everybody,

I’m just going to get right into it, looks like my very first post starts with a curve ball. Let’s have a little fun with it, jump in and give it a shot. No pressure!!!

Write a haiku about your favorite season*

Continue reading “A Shade of Ash – Prompt # 1 (Haiku)”

Pain in the Ash

I’ve been nursing a real bad neck as of late, I have no idea what might have caused it, all I know is that it’s been nagging me for awhile now. It could be the gym, quite possibly from shoveling or maybe it’s the way I slept, something has been causing me to slow turn my head for the past two weeks. I was never one to just tolerate the pain so I have been doing my best to rehab it as much as possible, so far, though, the pain keeps coming back.  Over the years I’ve  accumulated my share of bumps, bruises, and broken bones but with time I healed and the pain all went away, I always bounced back 100%.

This neck thing does bother me a lot, but I’m still doing everything I normally do, there’s a discomfort but I manage the pain enough to get through it. To aid in my recovery, I’m using the help of the gym, heating lotions, stretching and my doctor has prescribed me some pills too but I only take them when I absolutely need to (not a fan).  I have resorted to a more physiotherapy like approach when it comes to my gym workout and I make sure not to overdo it which is important when you are rehabbing any type of injury. Best not to push it and make something worst.  If you sit at a desk all week like I do it’s good to take some time during your day to work out your strained muscles, working in front of a monitor can wreak havoc on your posture and can also make an existing injury flare up something fierce.  I try to pay attention to how I am sitting to alleviate some discomfort created by slouching or hunching over at my desk which I’m guilty of from time to time.  Heat has seemed to provide me with the most relief; I have been using a magic bag and a heat rub to loosen the tight muscles in my neck. When it comes to our bodies, we know ourselves the best and we all respond to treatment differently; some of the things that I have suggested are things that you can try for yourself.  I do want to point out that if you are experiencing pain on any level, it’s best to consult a doctor and then with that advice you can start your road to recovery.

Dealing with pain is awful; my stepfather had to live with pain each and every day for about a five year period not long ago.  He injured himself on the job and was faced with a future of surgeries, painkillers, and extensive rehab that even then provided no absolute surety that he would get back to his old self. I saw that man who is by far the strongest man I know concede that he was at the mercy of chronic pain and on his darkest day cursed everything and wanted to quit. I earned a lot of respect for people suffering in chronic pain because of the hell my stepdad had to endure during his recovery. Because of his will and the support of the family, he’s completely back to himself today but for awhile there, he was doubtful that he would ever truly be rid of the pain entirely.

Staying healthy is a challenge, we try our best to take care of ourselves but sometimes the unpredictability of life proves that anything can happen. We break and bleed all the time, as far back as our days of bumping into corners and falling off our bikes, we are all too familiar with the feeling of pain. Now that I’m older it’s becoming apparent that I may not fix as easy as I used to, I need to do my part but I also need to accept going to the doctor when something doesn’t feel right. I know people who avoid the hospital at all the time which actually puzzles me, why?  Ego? Denial? I can’t answer that question for anyone but myself but I hope my dialog has made you think about how important it is to look after yourself.  We have friends and family that love and depend on us so we have to think about them too, they matter and so do you, don’t forget that. My neck got me thinking and this post was just my way of exploring my thought…next time I make a post though I promise it won’t be so much of a Pain in the Ash.

 

Leave Alone

As I stare at the branches the leaves fall away,
Barely able to hang on, the season won't let them stay;

Their colors deep shades of orange, some the darkest red,
I watched as the wind held you as you fled;

Your journey has ended and you now have to go,
Where will you land, how far will you blow?

The tree can't hold you any longer for autumn is here,
The cold is coming and winter is near;

Life went on while you fell from grace,
Nobody cared that you were displaced;

Laying there damp against the rain-soaked roads,
Scattered in whatever direction the cool breeze chose;

In death there is beauty if we just wait to see,
For in the place of just one fallen, there will someday be three. 

I Miss the Shot

I went for walk a couple days ago and spent a little time in the basketball court, the air was brisk, the sun beaming down, just the perfect conditions for a pickup game.  Both the basketball court and tennis court  were free at the time, a sight like that in my youth would be like finding a dollar each time you looked down, pure win.  Growing up I lived on the court where I played basketball, tennis, a lot of volleyball and well hockey was just a staple and a given growing up in small town Newfoundland, Canada.  Sports like those were a constant in my life and a constant in the lives of my friends, we all had the same passion for high school sports with a camaraderie that still exists today.  Certainly, we have all moved on with ours lives but if we happen to run into each other today we immediately start reminiscing of missed shots, long car rides and that time we all got in trouble for someone stealing a Crash Test Dummies CD.  Sports did that for me, it provided some of the best years of my life and I think every young boy and girl should get a chance to play something and challenge themselves while they make friends doing it.

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I remember the first time that I made a high school team, it was volleyball.  I had signed up using the clipboard signup sheet that was always hanging from the coaches door, dangling from an old piece of wool that someone must have brought from art class.  For the three days that followed I kept dragging myself to tryouts, each day at 3:15, all intimidated, nervous and unsure that I had what it took.  To make matters worst my best friend had actually backed out the day of, so I was really swimming in the deep end now with most of the team consisting of the whole ninth grade, a grade up on me and I was only familiar with a couple of the guys.  By the time the last tryout was finished I did get to know everybody but as a consequence to that I then learned that there were only a few open spots so I didn’t really get my hopes up.  The two days between the last tryout and knowing if I had made the team were brutal, the suspense nearly killed me.

The day had finally came, the team had been picked and we were to be notified by the coach personally if we had indeed made it, if he dropped by the classroom that would be a good thing.  It was pushing 3:00 on a Thursday afternoon when there was a knock on the door, it was coach, I immediately started to try to read his lips.  I couldn’t make out what he was saying  to the homeroom teacher but after what felt like an eternity he finally addressed the class and spoke three names, just three and those name were “Paul, Paul and Ashley”.  Never had my name ever sounded so soothing to my ears, I was instantly relieved, all that hard work had paid off and I was now part of an actual team. (true story see below)

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High school for me just kind of happened and I believe sports had a lot to do with that, I kept good grades, actually my grandmother deserves the most credit for that but playing sports was more like a luxury for me and being a good student allowed me that luxury.  I see kids playing sports all the time, they’re fun to watch, there’s too much negativity in the world so we need more of the small things and we can find that in our kids.  We watch them as they walk in our own foot steps and we vicariously start living through their success because you can relate to how genuinely happy they are playing a sport they love.  A few years ago my daughter actually took up sports for awhile, she called one day to tell me she had made the volleyball team, I was so proud, and she was doing on her own merit.  I remember barely containing myself hanging on her every word, I was a proud dad, it was indeed  a moment (sniff).  Although she moved on from sports as some kids do, she did get the chance to experience sports on a team level, she had some fun and created bonds for life.

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Speaking of bonds, playing outside as a kid was how I met most of my friends, we played hockey on the street all the time.  There was my friend Colin, one time he must have taken a full 30 minutes to get suited up in our makeshift goalie gear only to then take a rock to the lip on the first shot, he was done.  Oh yeah, a guy by the name of Corey who had a the heart of a Stanley Cup champion, he loved road hockey.  There were moments of my life where shooting a few hoops was a way to talk it out with a buddy, or maybe we’d make plans for the next day with a few jump shots before we called it a night.  I remember walking home as a teenager from a school dance with a close friend of mine Willie, who has since passed on, sometimes we would shoot hoops until the sun came up, just chatting it up while taking layups on a dimly lite basketball net.  I’ll never forget that, and I will never forget him, he was a good friend.

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When I was a kid I would visit my dad for a couple months of the summer, his sport was tennis which then became our sport.  He would bring me to the local tennis club and kick my ass up and down that court each match we played but I kept wanting more, some day I’d beat him, it was happening.  Every morning and again that same evening I’d battle my father back and forth trying to anticipate his next move, closing the gap and finally getting close enough where I might pull it off.  We played all summer one year barely missing a day.  I enjoyed that time with my father, for the first time in my life I felt we had connected through sport and for those tiny moments nothing else mattered.  We bonded a lot that summer and I learned more and more about him as we continued to play.  It was like we were getting to know each other on a different level and I am just now looking back realizing how happy I was.   He did a great job pushing me to my limits and taught me the lesson of being humble, I learned how to lose and I learned how to win.  I have him to thank for that, he showed me that you can be good but there will always be someone who could be better, so try your best every time and make sure to have fun.

That’s the thing about sports, they bring people together, they teach us a lot about ourselves.   Not only does sports help us physically and keep us healthy but it can be very helpful mentally as well.  Physical activity can help with stress, you’d be surprised how good you would feel by just getting outside and tossing the ball around.  I always look for opportunities to get outside with the nephews and nieces when they visit and they love it, there’s nothing like chasing the kids around the  yard and teaching them the concept of a game.

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Standing there at that moment and looking in at the empty court I couldn’t quite stop but think of the days where courts like the one before me would have been a forwarding address for me at one point in my life.  Take advantage of those moments as often as you can, time flies by so fast so have fun as much as possible.  Get out there and kick the ball around, walk to the park and shoot some hoops.  Go ahead and put your household title on the line and challenge the kids to a game of horse with the loser getting the dreaded dish duty.