Before my diagnosis, I was in a habit of taking a long walk every day on my lunch break. After my diagnosis, life became a slightly insane parade of lunch dates and rescheduled lunch dates, as well as vacation days to spend time with loved ones. The walks fell by the wayside, along with my daily yoga practice. My life was filled with people, always. I loved that part, but I missed my daily walks. I had come to view them as kind of a brainwash, a midday reset for whatever was getting me down that day.
When my surgeon released me from the hospital ten days ago, he said some words to me. I saw his mouth move, but pretty much the only thing I absorbed was “you’re cleared for long walks.” I started taking short, limping walks a few times a day. Wow, was I sore. Wow, did I tire quickly.
Yesterday, a friend drove me to the woods. Hiking had been another of my regular activities, before I got so exhausted from being sick. Getting into the woods yesterday was so special. Even though we walked on a plank pathway for most of our baby hike, it did me a lot of good to see leaves changing and hear birds singing.
Today, I took my first solo walk since surgery. It was ambitious – probably my longest walk yet. It’s good to get outside, to get walking.
You see things there like weeds growing through concrete, squirrels always with a nut, rabbits frozen, convinced you can’t see them. You see kitties skulking around the back, pugs that busted out of their backyard fence, the corner lots that are absolutely littered with flowers, cleared lots that have been reclaimed by grass.
You see backyard gardens with praying sunflowers as tall as trees and tomato plants groaning with their red and green burdens. You get to stick your face in flowering trees and inhale their sweet scent while bees buzz right nearby.
You might even talk to a guy who managed to grow two full-sized pumpkins, and when you ask him how on earth he did it, he will just shrug and say, “I just kept watering ’em.”
It’s that easy.
Just keep watering. Just keep going. Just keep walking.