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!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Wish Wall

Mile Marker 4030:

I wish I could tell you I swim for exercise in the morning.

But really it's for the coffee.

I park along 9th Street.  My hair's still damp as the sun rises over the Italian Market.  In tiny Gleaner's Cafe, wedged between market stalls, I order a "small hot."  The coffee is rich, like dark cocoa.  At this time of day, it's pretty much all I could wish for.

I head back to the car to go home and start my day.   But as I start up the engine, colors catch the corner of my eye.

It's a collage of flyers, overlapped like a paper mosaic.

If I squint, I can read the title:


It's still early.  I have a minute or two.  I hop back out, coffee in hand.

Step closer.

Some have been smeared with rain, but most are legible.  They're people's wishes, penned on pastel index cards for posterity.

Click any photo
to enlarge and read...
I stand.  I sip.  I read.  I've never been much for meditation, but on this quiet morning, that's what it feels like.  I breathe in the wishes.  My eyes wander the board.

There are wishes for health, for family, and for forgiveness.  For small things like toys, and for big things like cures for cancer.

A handful are written in Spanish.  A few are crayoned by kids.

There are milestones celebrated.  Goals to be achieved.

And in many different words and ways, an overarching wish for PEACE.

It's like a thousand voices from this neighborhood mingled together under a sheet of Plexiglas.

Fascinating.  Especially to a wisher like me.

Is this real?  And how long has it been here?

I look around.  The lot is mostly deserted.  A few people walk by on their way to work -- earbuds in, eyes on their phones -- some sipping coffee like me.  I'm the only one looking at the Wish Wall.

I wonder if these neighbors realize how much they have in common?

Hope.  Intention.  Strength.  Life.  Community.  So much meaning in so little square footage.

Then I start thinking... maybe a wish is just the beginning.

What if we all had the courage to put our dreams out there?  If instead of building walls to keep people out, we built more walls like this one?

What if EVERY neighborhood had a Wish Wall? 

The ideas flow quickly, one into the next, spurred on by caffeine.  My coffee cup is half-empty.  Or wait -- maybe it's half-full!

Go ahead.  Make a wish.

Get it out there.

You never know who might find it.

Where'd this wall come from?  I did a bit of research! Click here for the story behind it.   For more information about the WISHWALL Foundation, click here.  

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