They're both outside my comfort zone!
Mother Nature dumps more snow on Philly. For the last 2 winters, she’s been kind. But now, in my 3rd year as an amputee, she declares, “No more kid gloves. You can handle this!”
|No, I want to|
My friend Kelly, a fellow amputee, posts on Facebook that she has just shoveled her driveway. Go Kelly!! That's just the spark I need....
The streets are glazed with slush as I head across the city. When I find a parking spot along the curb, cars drive by, splashing my door. Nervously I wait to get out. I watch the sideview mirror till I can’t see any more headlights. The time is NOW.
In one swift motion, I unlatch the door and swing out my Genium. I push up into a standing position, and close the door as quick as I can. Sliding my glove along the car, I make my way toward the sidewalk. My heart is pounding. I hate being this close to traffic.
|I was too panicked to get|
a photo of that stretch of ice,
but it looked kinda like this one!
Ugh. Magic better happen after this adventure!
This winter, more than ever, the walls of my comfort zone confine me. I stay indoors when I want to go out. I drive when I'd rather take Septa. I circle the city in my car, checking the sidewalks, afraid to walk on them.
Ok, I admit it. The entire month of February lies outside my comfort zone.
And today, if I do stay on my feet, I'm pretty sure it will be worth the trip. For the first time in 3 years, I’m going to see Ed.
Ed was a volunteer at the rehab hospital when I was there in December 2010. Each morning, he greeted me with a warm smile as I’d wheel into the dining room for my breakfast tray. Back then, EVERYTHING lay outside my comfort zone -- even coming to breakfast. But Ed stretched those boundaries just a little bit wider.
|The reunion is worth it!|
When I think how far my comfort zone has expanded in the last 3 years, what's a few more yards of ice??
After that trek, I log the next 25 miles mostly indoors. But getting out in the winter makes even the smallest steps feel like a victory.
Friends Ruth and Asa help me navigate the snowy city.
In Washington Square, I find my favorite picnic spot buried under a sea of white.
And my first sip of lavender green tea tastes like much-needed spring.
Little by little, as if by magic, the snow disappears.
Mile Marker 1600:
The temperature hits 40 for the first time in months.
I grip the handrails, push back against my socket, and step onto the machine. In "free swing," my Genium is as flimsy as a piece of spaghetti. But it works. As I push the pedals forward, it comes along for the ride!
I start out tentatively, arms braced on the center handles, eyes glued to my left foot. Gradually, I find a rhythm. One hand at a time, I reach for the machine's moving arms. Take my eyes off the Genium for one split second and then another.
At day 3, it still looks more natural than it feels. My arms work overtime, and my left foot isn't quite stable. But at least I'm moving!
Deb and I even have a little FUN with it...
But it is something new.
Each time I cross that boundary, a tiny bit of fear melts away. Step by step, mile by mile, the desire grows. I want to travel farther and farther.
Maybe, maybe not. But sometimes, I discover a burst of confidence. Sometimes, I get a good workout.
Or sometimes -- as in the case of the arctic tundra -- I realize just what I can handle.
And that knowledge holds a magic all its own.