I wasn’t sure where I was headed, only knowing that I needed to walk for awhile. I meandered past rows of historic cottages, smelling the roses that drooped over picket fences. I walked past the student housing, seeing the undergrads milling around and heading back to campus for class. I crossed block after block of streets where I’d never walked before.
There was an inordinate amount of pleasure in feeling the wind pull my skirt around my lower legs, and whipping my scarf out in front and to the side of my body. The dark clouds that were overhead when I began my walk were mostly gone by the time I finished, and the sun was shining.
Earlier this morning, I’d logged into an interesting web-based project called “The Wilderness Downtown” that overlays images of running children with a googlemap of your childhood home (try it, it’s quite powerful). As my address, I entered in the home where I lived in Colorado–coincidentally the place I lived when I slowly lost my ability to run–as my knee lost its strength and flexibility while filling with cancer. I can’t remember the last time I was able to run, although I do remember trying that one time in 7th grade PE class when we were doing hurdles and I found that I simply couldn’t shift my weight onto the sore knee anymore.
The project prompts you to write a postcard to your childhood self. What I wrote:
“You will never run again. But you will walk. Miles and miles you will walk. And you will ski, and bike, and paddle, and swim. Sometimes you will cry, and hurt, and be alone. But more often than that, you will smile and laugh and have people to love.”