Mile Marker 0:
Where else to start but at the Art Museum? For 15 years, it’s been my starting line for skates and bike rides -- the place where everybody knows my name.
Today, it just felt right. My companions did, too. I started with my brother Mark and his trusty dog Jack. We were soon joined by my friend and skate-buddy, Jeff.
Mile Marker 1:
Kelly Drive. On my skates and bike, I had already logged more miles here than I could count. It was here that I learned to skate in a “draft line,” zigzagging between the runners and then pumping hard to climb the hill at the Falls Bridge. It was here that I rambled through the Water Works with a group of third grade camp kids. Here, I walked the AIDS Walk year after year. But today on Kelly Drive, I moved at a new pace, minding each of my steps, aware that my old life was blending with my new.
During the long winter months, my friend Jeff had stopped at the hospital often – bringing seasonal cheer in the form of gingerbread lattes! And Mark was by my side every day. In the early mornings, heshowed up with Dunkin Donuts tea and hash browns. (Just add bacon and you've got the breakfast of champions!) By night, he dozed on my window ledge on a pile of unused pillows. The hospital security guards and nurses knew him by name. “Rebecca, your brother’s coming up!” they echoed through the darkened hallways at midnight.
Mile Marker 2:
But today we were all together, WALKING IN THE SUNSHINE, among the runners and skaters and bikers. In 90 minutes, we walked 2 miles -- farther than I ever thought I'd go today!
I remembered a time 8 months ago when I could have skated or biked almost two loops (16 miles) in that amount of time. But our long, leisurely stroll along the river today felt good and hopeful. Even if I did need a nap afterward!
What I realized is that every journey starts in the middle, including this one. There's a point where the old meets the new. The baggage in the trunk of your car doesn't keep you from driving forward. It just reminds you of who you are.
As skaters and bikers whizzed by me today, I saw that Mark, Jeff, and Jack were moving at my speed. We weren't breaking any records, but we were moving forward – joining my old life with my new.
Thanks to Mark and Jeff (and Jack too!) for making this a first walk to remember!
And for giving me something else to reach for...maybe in 2013 :)