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June 2013

Learning To Fly

We talked for a long time after dinner last night, about the multitude of swirling adventures that characterize our lives these days.  At one point she said, "You look so sad when you're moving around."  She hastened to add that she didn't mean that I was sad, but that the people who care about me see me struggle and it makes them sad.

I get that.  I see it behind the smile on Billie's face when she watches me pass from my office in front of her desk on the way to wherever I need to be next.  Or I'll be in a meeting with some of the Deans and as the meeting breaks up someone will sidle up to me and ask, "So how are you doing?" and I give them a brief update.  But when I'm in the meeting, I can forget about it and be fully engaged with the work I love to do.  I'm sorry that I cause them worry, but I am so grateful for their tenderness and concern.

M., my very astute therapist is working on my gait.  She laughs as she watches my Tin Man walk.  "A PT instructor would love you -- the PT students would hate you!"

"Why's that?"

"There's just so many things..."  She puts a finger to her chin.  "I'm just trying to decide what I'm going to fix next."  She radiates confidence.

Like I've said -- I'm great teaching materiel.

Who knew that walking was so complicated?  My ankles & toes & hips & knees & arms are all ready to do the work, but the brain can't get the right signals to them.  So we work on retraining -- swing the arms, raise the knee when you stride, don't sashay those hips! Heel to toe, heel to toe.  So much to remember!  C'mon little nerve fibers -- you can sort out the new pathways.

I tell her that now when I see somebody running up the stairs I want to shout, "Do you realize how amazing what you're doing is?"  And M. grins and says, "And then you want to smack 'em?"

But no.  I don't carry any of  that kind of anger.  I just find the whole damn thing fascinating.  I am learning so much.

Today it's a beautiful early summer day in Alabama.  I walked around the edge of the lake to the spillway, practicing.  Swing the arms, shoulders relaxed, heel to toe, heel to toe, don't sashay those hips!

Learning to fly.