From Sanibel to Riker(s)

Waking, checking the time, the temp, the charge on the wheels that will allow me to do the Riker(s) Hill Art Studio tour planned for later in the day. I made a deal that if there was a charge, I would do it. I would walk during the morning hours before the tour and I would do it alone.

The early hours are my closest friend. Temperatures at their lowest, mind clear of the chatter that bombards my mid-day; is the laundry folded? when is that essay due? has the letter to the board been sent? Enjoying the space that is clear after 6 hours sleep, the earlier daylight beckons me.

With the power in the green, I charge ahead. I will walk with my stick, sans the stable arm I’ve come to rely on.  i can do this, i can do this. Would I know where to stop so that I can make it back home? I’ve been there, the not knowing, the getting stuck. Sanibel in the early 90s, the before time. Nothing yet approved to combat the progression. am i progressing? where was i last year? what could i do then? can i do it now? Shhh! There is no grand perspective. There is only today, now, 6:20 am.

An eye on the thermometer, unseasonably hot they say, yet these early hours find a warm gentle breeze. do it! ignore hesitation. With grounding by Nike (ethical issues muted by adoption) I put my foot down and start my descent. The stairs lead me away from my comfort zone, that couch of wisdom that distracts me from what cannot be.

One step with stick, the other on its own. One step with stick, the other on its own. One step with stick, the other on its own. The pace slow, yet accelerating my heart. My breathing provides rhythm that informs my mind’s wandering. i’m doing this. What distance will keep this an independent journey. The defeat, sitting in the sand waiting for a friend to come back with his car. it won’t happen now! am i progressing? where was i last year? what could i do then? can i do it now? Shhh! It won’t happen now! Stop yelling! How many more steps should I take? The icepack cooling my neck, drips water down my back. My mind’s rhythm in concert with my feet falling and within that tempo is the scraping of my foot dropping. is this the point? no,  just a little more, up to that house – the one we can see from our back yard. scraping. Walk in the road- is this it- where there are less obstacles –scraping– to bring me down, just up to the house with the natural landscape…STOP!

I surprise myself with a sudden about-face. Like a band-aid removed, the unexpected shock of my mind’s settled argument. I turn around to find rhythm that doesn’t speak defeat. My foot drop continues to scrape the ground, my back arches in a satisfying crack and I  find the rhythm in my continued walking. Quieted by the pride that is slowly building, no words to define. My rhythm increasing to a beat that my feet aren’t following, though my breath is. When I finally reach those steps I tip my head back and silently scream in exultation. (I did it!)