It’s amazing what we might not necessarily take for granted, but we tend to under appreciate its significance. I admit that I always took physical balance for granted. Once you learn to walk as a toddler it not something you really think about unless you suffer some type of injury. Earlier in life I experienced some typical injuries such as ankle sprains, shin splints with my bare feet to shoes on concrete transitions, ACL, and other assorted foot and knee bumps. It may have been uncomfortable, but I still managed to walk at least with crutches. Never in my imagination, however, did I ever contemplate having to relearn how to walk in my 30s as a result of a vestibular condition. The physical tools never left, but my brain could not send the signals to my legs and all the complimentary muscular, skeletal, and neurological attributes to enable me to balance and walk. It took a lot of effort throughout the course of a year to regain what I had lost.
I probably had to work to learn how to walk initially with assorted bumps and bruises along the way, but I have no recollection of that time. As a teen and adult I just took walking for granted, but other memories from the past have remained appreciated and become more special as time passes.
What I do remember is that joy of being out in the field using the hand to mouth berry picking method that left a trail of strawberry stems and crowns behind as I navigated between rows. I remember snaking my arms through the vines and getting stuck by the thorns to pick the darkest blackberries hidden between the strands of the hogwire through which the plants had been strung. I remember weekends with my Dad on the Tickfaw, Blood, or Natalbany rivers or out on Lake Maurepas watching the Sun rise in the mornings. I remember sitting on my stump in the packing shed listening to the men talk as the Sun slowly sunk beyond and beneath the rear field. I remember in the heat of the day resting back under an oak tree watching the clouds overhead and making up stories based on the shapes. Juggling acorns or pitching them against a root or another trunk and batting those acorns with a small stick.
Have you ever closed your eyes tightly and “watched” the rain as the drops fall upon a piece of tin, on black plastic, a glass bottle, green leaves on a tree, or dry brown leaves on the ground? At that time one can embark on a magical, mystical, spiritual journey as imagination and senses merge.
To me that is joy. That is freedom. It is simple yet complex. It is hard to define, easy to define. It should be easy to discover, but sadly becomes lost or forgotten unless uncovered. It requires work, but we often fail to recall the type of work. The work is to open one’s eyes, heart, and imagination. It is to see, hear, feel, experience from not just one but a multitude of perspectives. It’s past, present, and future all coming together to make your best and to do your best with what you have.