It was a beautiful morning. Sunny. No humidity. The flash flood the night before had not done much damage. I knew immediately I was going to put off the things on my to-do list. Instead, I hurriedly dressed, so excited to be able to finally take a walk on the trail — no flood, no rain, just me, my camera and my cane.
And then — I made a decision that turned a simple stroll into a challenge.
I decided to leave my cane behind. It would be the first time since my hip surgery seven months ago and all its unexpected complications, requiring many additional painful treatments and physical therapy that I felt strong enough to do it. I have been vigorously exercising, but my balance is still not good and I limp. I am also very slow and lack confidence.
I walked carefully down the steps and over the walkway that leads to the lovely trail behind my home. I could hear my physical therapist — “shoulders back, stomach in and hips under.”
It was tricky going. The trail that runs along the stream was full of debris and potholes. Part gravel, part dirt, part grass. A not so smart choice for my first time walking without a cane! But then, as she usually does, Mother Nature provided me with a solution. A morning filled with bird song, the gurgling of the stream and the most astonishing wildflowers! Such abundance! And the colors! I forgot my fear and discomfort. Instead, I took the pocketknife from my keychain and carefully cut a few. Just enough for a bouquet. Hydrangeas, daisies, black-eyed susans and breathtaking rose of Sharon.
I took my time. I savored every minute.
Twenty minutes later, I climbed the steps to my front door, put the flowers in my favorite vase (an old pottery pitcher), and took off my sneakers
I did it!!! Twenty minutes doesn’t sound like a lot of time, but to me it was a victory as satisfying as running a marathon.
I hung my cane on the hook in the foyer. It will likely still be a necessary accessory. But hopefully, less often.
I went into the kitchen, made a fresh pot of hazelnut coffee, filled my favorite mug and lifted it up in a toast.
“To Victory”! My first walk without my cane!
Carole Leskin is a retired Director of Global Human Resources. Embarking on a second career as a writer and photographer concentrating on her personal accounts of aging, her essays and poetry, frequently accompanied by her photos, are published in Jewish Sacred Aging, Jewish Women of Words, Starts At 60, Navigating Aging ( a Kaiser Health publication), Women’s Older Wisdom, Time Goes By and Next Avenue. Her poems, “Father Time” and “Carole’s Debate” were selected for inclusion in the 2019 anthologies of poetry, New Jersey Bards. Her photos have been featured in Mart R Porter Nature Forum.