I've been off work since late September. My knees have both given me fits for the last couple of years, but in September, the pain became too intense to deal with for eight hours a day, so I arranged for a medical leave and had orthroscopic surgery on my left knee. It helped a lot. However, I'm not so sure it's up to the wear and tear it's about to receive: I walk constantly on concrete all day, at work. Monday I'll go back and find out. I've enjoyed my little haitus, but I've missed seeing the girls at work, too. As a non-driver, I really don't get off the place much when I'm not working, and I almost become a hermit; I also have a tendency to let the computer devour me when I'm home all the time.
The Christmas rush is over at the distribution center, and my ex-daughter-in-law tells me the work is slow, and that there's a chance we'll be allowed to choose extra days off each week. This will help immensely. The slack time will last through January, and possibly February too. My first goal regarding my job is to somehow hobble through until July 17, at which time I'll be fully vested. My original plans were to work until age 62, then draw social security. I can't imagine that happening now; it would require my staying with it for yet another year; I do well to make it down a slight incline to our mailbox! For some reason, when you have bad knees, hills are murder! That's why I treasure every trip back into our woods, because I know I won't be able to navigate those steep banks forever. I would, however, learn to drive the four-wheeler if need be, and I'm not above having Cliff take me and Mandy back on the tractor and leaving us there. I've found a deep sense of peace back in the woods and "hollers", and I intend to keep returning there if I have to crawl on hands and knees.
I took this shot yesterday as the sun was lowering in the sky, while descending into the deepest canyon on our place. You can see patches of snow in the shaded spots. It isn't unusual to see deer in this area, and their tracks are everywhere. In a rainy April, huge morel mushrooms grow here. It isn't beautiful at this time of year, but it's calm and peaceful. My soul is restored in this place, and I thank God that we are fortunate to have a few acres, and a haven like this to which I can flee with my hyperactive mutt and be at peace.