Fall back with your hands before or behind you just so.
Joshua Marie Wilkinson, The Dogs
The unexpected. As humans, our fears are realized when the unexpected comes along and kicks our legs out from under us.
On Labor Day I was hiking in Rocky Mountain National Park with my husband, Mike. We were discussing my desire to hike California's John Muir Trail solo, when I tripped on a rock. I landed flat on my forearms, as Mike said, Like a book falling over.
Once I caught my breath, we finished hiking to our car, laughing the entire way back at my clumsiness, me making a mental list of who might accompany me on the John Muir hike. The next morning I was in the ER having my left arm immobilized due to a fracture in the radial head, next to the elbow.
Quickly I realized how dependent I am on using both arms together, and how frustrating it is to do the simplest of actions, like buttoning my jeans or folding a towel. What I took for granted, is now difficult, like typing . . .
The irony of the entire event is that Monday was the best day I've had since moving to Colorado. I was finally hiking in a gorgeous setting, feeling strong and invincible, making plans for next year. And then there I was, literally laid out flat.
On the upside, I have cable TV and a Kindle that works with one hand, and I definitely have the time and opportunity to edit and complete the chapbook I'm working on. Yet, maybe this is not a time for distracting myself, but for listening.
As autumn finally whispers her seductive promise of cooler weather, I am listening to her subtle messages: stay put, look around you, feel the breeze on your skin, don't take anything for granted. And, one more unexpected utterance: look for those yellow legal pads, because you'll be writing your poems in long-hand.
My writing often deals with the environment, my poetry filled with allusions to natural and man-made disasters. I have unlimited hope though, there is just too much wonder in this world to become a defeatist. As Margaret J. Wheatley said, Hopelessness has surprised me with patience.