Tuesday, November 9, 2010 arrived with a clear early morning that promised to become a chilly, sunny, and typically autumn day. I zipped my coat, buckled my helmet strap, unlocked my bike, and headed off to work. A few minutes later, a garbage truck crossed a bike lane to make a right turn. I was in that bike lane. The tires of the truck crushed my left leg and caused other internal injuries. An amazing team of trauma surgeons saved my life, but they had to amputate my leg to do so.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. Confucius.

In July 2011, I set off to walk a thousand miles as an above-knee amputee in my new prosthesis. The journey has held more twists, turns, and detours than I ever imagined.

I reached Mile 1000 on March 30, 2013.

But of course, that wasn't the end.

I'll keep walking!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Little D

Mile Marker 504:

I grew 5 inches in sixth grade but was still the shortest kid in the class. 

Good things come in small packages, our teacher wrote in my yearbook.

If you've met my family, you know I come by it honestly. We're a long line of small but MIGHTY women.

“Strong Russian stock,” my Aunt Candy used to say.

We move furniture.  We rise early to cross things off our to-do lists.  We make sure each day packs a PUNCH.

And when we're together, just watch out!   The excess energy bubbles over.   The volume gets louder and louder.  We toss ideas back and forth faster than 20 Ping-Pong balls!  You can't get a word in edgewise.

We’re actually BIG packages in small bodies.

But since the accident, I’ve had trouble keeping up.  Tiny bites of family time are enough for me.  Short visits with friends.  Lighter amounts of food.   I fill to capacity more quickly.

At Mile Marker 504, I find a state that's the perfect portion size.


It's quiet, unimposing.  Sandwiched along I-95 between Pennsylvania and Maryland, it is truly a good thing in a small package.  Minus the overdrive.  

On a Saturday afternoon, I head down to Wilmington to see my good friend Bosco.  It's a route that used to be easy and direct but now drags out with discomfort -- big trucks, reckless drivers, traffic jams.

But it’s Bosco’s birthday.  And over the past 20 months, her rides to Philly have been too numerous to count.  So I owe her one, or two...or fifty.

Plus, it’s a glorious, breezy day.  The clouds are high and the sky is huge.   The Riverfront is the perfect place for lunch and a walk.

Like Delaware itself, the Riverfront is miniature by big city standards.  There are a couple of restaurants and a children’s museum scattered along the walking path.

Across the water, the micro-metropolis of Wilmington shows off its business center.  You can count the tall buildings on one hand.

Even the river is narrow.   A good swimmer could dive in and emerge on the opposite bank without really trying.

But small is good here.  It leaves space for grass, trees, and sculpture.  For meandering and relaxing.

Bosco’s got several inches on me, but she has a "small package" way about her.  She's soft-spoken and thoughtful.  She prefers friendly gatherings to huge parties.  And of course, she’s from Delaware.

At lunch, we splurge on oysters from the Canadian coast.

Then we hear the ringing of delicate bells.  We watch as a drawbridge rises three times to let water taxis pass underneath.  Like the Riverfront, the small boats are nearly empty.  We wonder where they’re going. 

Later, we start walking.  We ask a passerby to snap a picture for us.  He tells us he used to be a traveling photographer for the Dixie Chicks.  Hmmm....  What do you think?

The water’s peaceful.  The path is smooth.   And best of all, I can make it from one end to the other!

The river is lined with these birdhouses – intricate constructions of wood, and stone, and cement.  They echo Delaware’s history.  

From my vantage point on the ground, they are perched against the clouds.

Like tiny mansions in the sky!

From start to finish, we're barely out for 3 hours.  But the afternoon feels like a vacation.  

Here in Delaware, small packages don’t have to explode like firecrackers.  They don't have to be dense or powerful like neutron stars. 

They can be slow like lazy afternoons on the river.  Or quiet, but amazing, like the birdhouses.  Or they can slip under the radar like tax-free shopping.   (Just another perk of this small but mighty state!)

It's pretty obvious.  I am not a calm, quiet package like Delaware.  It’s just not in my blood.

But I’m learning to take life in small doses.  To pace myself.

Because every once in a while, Little D is a good place to be.


  1. If only the people in the tourism office in DE could read this! You make me want to hop in a car and head down there now! You have such a way with words Miss Levenberg! Congrats on 504!

  2. I adore that last photo of you in this post....a smile of such bliss. :o)
    huzzah for Delaware!