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!)

11 thoughts on “From Sanibel to Riker(s)

  1. Leslie says:

    Poetry of your life, rhythm of your footing carrying across in your words. Beautiful as well as powerful!

  2. keith says:

    Very powerful as usual. I hope to be there for every walk going forward.

  3. Michelle says:

    I completely identify! Good for you; both for trying AND turning around in time! I know how daunting they both can be…. I frequently (mentally)argue with myself to press on, even though I know I should stop sooner than I often do. Stubborn as a mule, I am! I’m deeply touched by Keith’s post. Sounds like a great guy!

  4. Jill says:

    Lovely, Amy. How about giving that silent scream some volume, “I did it!!”

    Did you ever hear the song by Dory Previn, “Screaming in a Car in a 20-mile Zone”??

    Go for it, girl!!!
    xxx Jill

  5. MSK says:

    Hi Amy
    My sister has had MS since 1991. I am about to embark on a round the world cycle tour in aid of MS and am trying to increase my followers. I hope you may be interested.

  6. Debbie says:

    Your posts are always so moving! Congrats on your walk and congrats on not pushing too far. I’m not always so smart.

    • aglol says:

      It is great to know that my writing reaches you…It makes this whole blogging thing even more rewarding.
      Thanks for your response Debbie. And p.s. I’m not always that smart either! 😉

  7. Carol Cooke says:

    I found your blog url on Linkedin! Absolutely fantastic reading. Keep it up. I have been living with MS for just over 12 years now and doing exactly that “Living”! I will be following your blog for your inspiration.
    I can certainly understand the “doing things in the a.m.” I live in Australia and during our summer months it is good to get things done first thing in the morning.
    Keep up the good work!

    • aglol says:

      Hi Carol- Thanks for your reply and encouragement. Glad to hear you approaching your version of MS with gusto! We are an interesting group- those of us living with this crazy unpredictable disease. That which does not kill us, makes us stronger and stronger, I believe.
      Would love to connect on facebook if you are in to that…

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