I hammered away at task after task today; and faced a small whirling dervish of a demon. I pounded spikes around my castle and welded barbed wire to the top of the gate. Then I eased my weary body from the confines of a dungeon and fled home.
Now the dog sits at my feet, which are not clad in ruby slippers but, rather, dirty red scuffs. I’ve eaten leftovers. I’ve started a load of laundry. I’ve answered e-mail. I’ve stayed calm.
I’ve begun to gather what I need for my trip out west. I stood in the dining room tonight looking at the growing pile on the table. I contemplated what I might, or might not take.
I bought a collapsible walking stick. I’ve avoided use of a cane for many years. I tell my doctors, “I already have two legs that don’t communicate with my brain; I can’t handle a third.” For me, canes only help at the moment when I need to rest. Barring a strong nearby arm, a handy wall, or a chair into which I can briefly collapse, a walking stick allows me to lean and catch my breath. I prefer a wall, truth be told. It’s sturdier; it’s stationary; and I can gauge its spatial relationship to my body.
Besides: People look at me oddly enough as it is. The walking stick will doubtless make it worse.
But I thought about the river into which I fell in Colorado. My wooden cane, which Jenny Rosen chased downstream, served me well hiking in the dunes. I had Jenny’s strong arm for most of the trip back from the river; but out in California, I will be alone, and I expect to do a fair amount of walking.
When my feet touch down on the concourse at San Jose Airport, my ten-day solitary oddysey will begin. I’ll be going from Pigeon Point to Novato; from Oakland to Point Montaro; from San Francisco to Palo Alto. And back again! I’m bound to need a brief respite now and then. I’ll take the walking stick. I won’t complain about it. I’ll make good use of it; and keep walking. Just as I promised my mother all those years ago.
It’s the thirtieth day of the thirty-second month of My Year Without Complaining. Life continues.