Is This You?: A box of rocks

I can still reach my toes in the morning. Might have to coax my back into bending all that way by testing it a few times, but eventually the tips of my fingers and my toes say “hi” to each other and then they just become distant relatives until the next day. There are more than a few exercise gurus I spot as I zip through channels on my television while looking for the next mind numbing program that will cause me to say, yet again, “There is nothing worth watching on any of the zillion channels we get.”

You’re nodding in agreement aren’t you?

Back to the exercise programs. I can’t watch them. I feel too guilty jumping up and dancing around my living room. The floor squeaking under my feet and the walls shaking until pictures tumble to the ground. No, I figure my day is full enough of hither and yon, to and fro, up and down, lift and carry. I don’t think I need to add bend and squat to my list.

However, your heart and mine, along with the doctors, medical insurance companies and now even our government health department, asks us to do some sort extra daily activity to keep it pumping. Yes, for some reason, like living longer fuller more healthful lives, it’s deemed essential to add exercise to our daily routine. Oh swell! Well if I must chose, I chose walking as my extra daily exercise. That’s where my box of rocks comes into this little story.

Spring is on the near horizon and with winter waning I have noticed again my frame has an added layer. I say it was put there just to keep me insulated from the cold. My scale says it was put there because of the coffee-chocolate chip ice cream the grocery store now carries along with the fact I’m of the same mind set as was Joan Rivers. She said, and I agree, her idea of exercise is, “A good brisk sit!” Aaahhh. But to fit into the shorts of summer, the ones hiding and quivering with fear in the back of my closet, I must not dally another day without beginning to shed winter and re-find that spring in my step.

To that end, I found as I trudged up the steps to my back door the other day after a long day of bookwork and tax preparation, a big ole box of rocks waiting for me. On first glance I decided they were something my other half put there to fill in some hole our dogs had dug. Maybe put them where the rain gutter gutters the water off the roof and makes a hole in the grass. (Oh rain gutters are a source of contention and are going to be discussed at a later date). But having other after-hours things that needed to be done I just side stepped the box of rocks and drug my winter layered self into the house to make mac and cheese for dinner.

During dinner he asks if I saw the present on the deck he left for me.

Mentally I scanned the deck and checked off, dogs, cats, firewood, cat tree, 42-inch circular saw blade, stuffed mouse and what else? OH! The box of rocks. Yes, I tell him and how nice of him and what does he want me to do with the box of rocks? Imagining the worst like having to carry them some place and do something with them and hoping the someplace and something is close and easy I say, “Thanks?” He said he leveled our graveled yard that morning.

See, we live on a 5-acre parcel and the yard with mud, rain, snow, you know — winter, tends to get ruddy. At which point he has this huge piece of railroad rail he built into a scraper he pulls behind the tractor to level the yard which makes coming home and driving to the house more serene and less like forging a river, climbing the Alps and crossing the Rio Grande. So after the leveling he spent the next few hours picking up most of the rocks that were bigger than a pack of cigarettes. In other words the ankle getters, the ones I could turn an ankle on when I started my daily walking exercise.

I can go one of two ways here. I can let my ire get the best of me and think, “Well! He thinks my winter layered self is unattractive...” Or I can find delight in the fact he spent the day picking up that box of rocks and looking out for my ankles as I get my winter layered self out there walking. I choooose…

Trina Machacek lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book ITY BITS can be found on Kindle. Share your thoughts and opinions with her at


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