Friday, March 02, 2007


PEACH BLOSSOMS AND SCIATICA


I know, right off the bat you're wondering whatever could be the connection between peach blossoms and sciatica, well, I'm getting around to it, just give me a minute to gather my thoughts, get a word in here, put these tools away...

It all started about 10 ten years ago I'd say, back when I planted a peach tree over by the inner road and not long after got sciatica, or maybe before, I don't remember which. I could go find out, but then you'd just be left sitting here waiting in this age of instant media; anyway whatever else may or may not be true, the sciatica had nothing to do with the peach tree. Bet those are words you never heard before.

Speaking of which, because unfortunately at the time I was a newbie at planting trees I didn't pick the right planting spot or prep the peachling properly-- global warming may have been a factor too, depending on whether you endorse the scripturally enlightened Jerry Falwell or the scientifically endarkened Al Gore.

In any case, the tree wound up undernourished, at least because of poor prep and overshadowment by the big old oak that wanted to spread overhead, forcing the peach to reach for whatever sun it could, so it grew fast and sideways like a ghetto kid (been there, done that), in time bending to force its way through the hedge to the road, making an unpleasant sight, gardenically speaking, and though it produced delicious peaches (I actually got to taste one the monkeys missed!) that deliciousness also made it a popular simian hangout and, being spindly, the tree did not react well to all the ruthless vandalism, which bent it even more and bedraggled its few skinny branches. Old before its time, ravaged every Summer, after a few years the peach began to give up what little ghost it had, hunching up even more when monkeys came by.

So a couple of weeks ago, while we were pre-Spring clearing away the under and overgrowth on that roadside and around the kinmokuse hedge I cut the peach tree down, ending its misery (though we may get new shoots from the trunk, which I'll treat right). We stacked the wood and trimmings on the kindling pile next to the firewood splitting block.

Then the other day while splitting some wild cherry I noticed that all the new branches of the peach had plump furry buds on them, like mini-pussywillows, and were clearly viable, lying there right in front of me where they kept on forlornly yearning sideways until I couldn't stand it any longer. I'm a sucker for grandkids and peach buds. So I clipped off all the new growth I could find, a good armful - some of the cuttings up to a meter long - took them into the house, put them all in a wide-mouthed vase, filled it with water, added two aspirin and placed the vase in the big kitchen window right above the sink where it was light and warm.

Now if you've ever spent enough time in Japan to need an aspirin, you'll think right away: God what a waste of aspirin that is... aspirin are ridiculously expensive in Japan! Well it just so happens that because of the eponymous sciatica and the attendant need for aspirin, I wrote a ramble on sciatica and the cost of aspirin in Japan, which ramble was published in Kyoto Journal, where it was read by my best friend Marty back home in NY, who immediately went out and bought half a dozen megabottles of aspirin dirt-cheap at the local drugstore and airmailed them to me, thereby saving me a bunch of unnecessary physicoeconomic pain and anguish, for which I and my lumbar vertebrae shall be forever grateful. However, because there was enough aspirin for a hundred cases of sciatica and I had only one, I got over my singular symptoms before I'd used up even one of those giant bottles. The result is, that as an aspirin nouveau riche I can now share my largesse with one and all, so I do. And aspirin is a very effective plant booster.

The other morning I woke up, went downstairs to make tea and there beheld a frosty kitchen window full of pink peach blossoms, thanks to my sciatica.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Too cool. Can you post a picture? C.

Joy Des Jardins said...

Well, I guess you tidied up any loose ends we may have had with that one.

Enjoy those peach blossoms Robert.

Winston said...

The magic of aspirin...

I never heard of using aspirin for plants, but hey, if it works...

My lone bout with sciatica a few years ago was snuffed by 3 visits to a chiropractor, while I ingnored the orthopedic surgeon who wanted to whittle on my spine with an Xacto knife. Of course, the chiro wanted me to continue monthly "maintenance" adjustments, but I refused, promising him I would come back at first sign of recurrence. That was 5 or 6 years ago and it has yet to rear its ugly head again. Maybe the daily 81 mg aspirin regimen and occasional stretching exercises keep it at bay.

Are the cuttings plantable to grow into trees?

Robert Brady said...

I think chondroitin/glucosamine/MSM with collagen/hyaluronic acid combo would also help strengthen the cartilage; I'm tossing logs about again (though more carefully now). The cuttings are yearning to root; they're putting out leaves like healthy saplings. I think I'll propagate a couple of them, so the peach tree can go on-- better prepped and in a better location.