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, January 31, 2013

Let It Snow


Mile Marker 913:

10 years ago I had an apartment not too far from where I live now.

On a snowy night, I’d be traipsing around Old City’s colonial streets, hood pulled tight, jeans tucked into hiking boots.  As the white flakes piled up against the red brick buildings, I let time slip away. 

Now I don’t venture out till the sidewalks are thoroughly salted.   And even then, the only thing slipping away is me!

At Mile Marker 913, I watch snowflakes swirl in the lamplight.   They’re wet and cold against my tongue.  I feel my cheeks redden as they freeze on contact.

Things have changed in 10 years.  My body and home, my job and daily routine -- sometimes it feels like a whole new life.   

A snowfall is still exciting and magical.  But it’s mostly hazardous, slippery, and confining. 

Tonight, my Genium is safe and dry.  It is not tucked into hiking boots.  Instead, it's tucked underneath the dashboard of my car.  Despite its fancy functions, the Genium does not have snow tires! 

In this rush hour snowstorm, I’m heading home from work.  In 45 minutes, I’ve traveled exactly 10 city blocks.  Time is slipping away.

10 years ago I’d have cursed this wasted Friday night.  But tonight, I’m entranced by the diamonds fluttering above me.  Thanks to my car’s sun roof – or “snow roof” in this case – I too can be part of the fun!

And even though I'm not on a snow hike tonight, I've come far since the wintery weekend of Mile 305.   This year, as compared to last, I don’t worry as much about the weather.  My prosthesis is more comfortable, and even on a bad day, I'm not stranded upstairs.  My car stays parked in a low-maintenance garage, and I live in a neighborhood where the sidewalks will soon be clear.  Come tomorrow morning, I’ll be able to walk for real. 

That’s exactly what I do.  The next day, when the sun is high, I tread slowly and carefully through Mile 913.  What better motivation than a one-block trip to Starbucks? 

Gritty rock salt lines my path.  It’s not as pretty as glistening snow, but it gets the job done.   As I pass my neighbor Betsy's house, the colonial bricks have already dried in the sunlight.

Slush-covered curb cuts prove more dicey.  Melty footprints and tire tracks, I realize, aren't much better than ice.  I hold my Genium straight and tread carefully across Arch Street.  By the time I reach the other side, my whole body's rigid with tension.

A warm latté soothes the trip home.  To make walking easier, I head back on the opposite side of the street.  Even on a snowy day, the angle of the sidewalk is important.   

A patch of cobblestones stretches before me, not quite as dry as the bricks I passed before.  
I tap my toe into a puddle – trying to discriminate water from ice.

Finally, at the gate of my building, I’m flushed with both victory and relief.

Snow has lost some luster over the past 10 years.  Even on this brilliant day.

Think spring, Genium.  Think spring!

2 comments:

  1. I'm thinking spring, Genium! And what better whay to welcome spring than a trek around the Flower Show... indoor venue, beautiful sights and smells, shopping opportunities, lots of walking (here's to another mile!), and a tribute to Dot-Dot:) Can't wait!

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  2. This just in.....Pennsylvania groundhog Punxsutawney Phil doesn't see shadow, forecasts early spring.

    In all my 51 years I only remember this happening a few times. Now we just have to get the through the next few weeks.....

    Enjoy the flower show, it should be wonderful as always!

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