Wilderness Yoga

Curt-lineby Curt Kovener

New Years Day dawned gratefully sunny, dry and outdoors workable comfortable. I took that as an omen to get some overgrown briars, weeds, leaning trees and low hanging branches manicured in the wilderness.
I sit on a newly formed county-wide committee to educate the public to deal with from a farm perspective noxious and potentially toxic weeds for livestock and (from my perspective) invasive woodland plants.
Since the best kind of leadership is an active hands-on style which instills real world knowledge, I put on my old work clothes, got the pruners, clippers and chainsaw and went to work reclaiming the lane and trails.
I have written frequently about blackberries and raspberries. But they can become weeds when they grow where they shouldn’t. Forsythia planted along the creek years ago provides pretty yellow early spring flowers. But left to their own, like multiflora roses, greenbriar, and autumn olive, they can take over.
So to take back the area, I engage in wilderness yoga. Yoga is a form of exercise which employs stretching, interesting and sometime provocative positions, breathing and meditation. And I employ all of those as I duck, crouch, wiggle and meander, stretch and contort under and above overhanging sometime briar filled branches.
After the cutting there is the pulling, detangling, and dragging the newly pruned vegetation to the stick pile for composting.
And throughout all of that is breathing. Heavy breathing… but not the kind you may think. The kind brought on my sitting in front of a computer too much. They kind where walking Emma the Great Pyrenees causes some gasping for air as I try to keep up with the now 1 year old and 90-pound puppy wannabe guard dog as she romps about the wilderness.
When we go inside she has bunches of woodland burrs in her fur and loves the attention she receives as I gently work them out of her long white coat. She considers it a sign of affection and enjoys standing or lying while I prospect for weed seeds.
I soon am reminded that too much time in front of a computer results is tired muscles and aching joints way before the work is done.
But, tomorrow or the next day more work can be addressed. Right now a nap in the recliner in front of the fireplace seems to be a good culmination of my wilderness yoga sessions.