Sunday, March 20, 2011

AGONY AND ECSTASY; an unlikely combination


Yesterday was a glorious day.  I investigated the wet lands of Tellico Lake and searched out Citico Creek and finished the day with a boat trip down Calderwood Lake with the dogs for an overnight camp out.

I lay in bed this morning at day break, staring at the ceiling and wondering what I could get into today.  A motorcycle ride to the deserted community up in the Smoky Mountains seemed a possibility.  Or, I could take the Gheenoe down the Little Tennessee River to check on the bald eagles nesting there and get a lot of great photographic images of the critters who reside along that waterway.  Well;  I'll just drive down to the local diner and order a coffee to go and make my decision on the way back to the habitat.
"Happy;  time to get up.  Happy off.  Happy off."   Happy reluctantly jumps from the bed to the floor as I swing my legs over the edge of the bed.  An intense pain slams into the inside of my thigh with a vengeance and I fell to my knees on the floor, all the time holding onto the edge of the bed.  I remember thinking, "how can I lay there so comfortably and then experience this agony a moment later?"

I could barely walk.  Slowly and painfully I got to my feet, the pain constant on the inside of my right thigh.  I tried to walk it off in hopes of at least lessoning the pain.  It didn't work.  Leaning against the ceiling support post and twisting my body all directions did nothing.  I tried to squat down and twist left and right.  That seemed to lesson the pain but, did very little good.   I looked at the dogs all giving me their attention.  What were they thinking?  Who cares really what they were thinking?  I was in severe pain.  Two hours passed and I could hear motorcycles cruising past the habitat.  I hobbled out to the yard only to see bass boats being pulled toward the lake by pick up trucks.  Everyone was on their way to excitement and joy.  I can't believe this is happening to me.

I'm the same guy who, just last month, bushwhacked up a mountain that arose practically vertical from Abrams Creek and didn't breath hard.  I'm the same guy who paddled a canoe the entire circumference around Cheoah Dam in the Champlain Canoe last year.  Yes;  this is the same person who can ride a motorcycle from Pittsburgh, Pa all the way to Jackson Hole, Wyoming in one sitting.  What is happening to me?

What is happening is my inability to admit that the body isn't that of a 20 year old anymore.  Although I feel 20 years old;  the parts that make up the framework within the enclosure are nearing 65 years of age.  That's OK and to be expected.   The hard part to admit is that fact itself.  The mind wants to drive on hard but the vehicle of mobility requires a bit more attention, servicing, than when it was a newer model.  Why am I writing this up here on the blog, you wonder?   It's like this:

I am the most active person I know on this planet.  I love the wilderness places and all that goes with them.  I will venture out on the worse days.  When the climate and weather are perfect I am in my finest hours.  Today has been stellar where weather is concerned.  I have always been ready to meet whatever challenge awaited  me in the out of doors.  I actually look forward to the unusual occurrences when on the water or in the woods and, so far I've overcome a lot of adversity on my own and always got back home.  I revel and thrive in the wilderness places and much of that joy lies in the hopes of some unusual phenomenon occurring that I must deal with and learn from.  Now, a simple worn vertebrae in my back has allowed a thin, aging disk to protrude out from between it and the accompanying vertebrae.  This tiny defective part located at belt height has all but totally immobilized me.  The chiropractor will set it right tomorrow morning but, I have to lay down to sleep tomorrow night.  When I awake next morning;  what will happen?

The point of this piece is this:  be damn thankful if you have good health.  There is so much to lose by not taking good care of a body that is expected to support not only the mass but also the mind for an undetermined period of time.  The mind sets the pace and puts the body in motion to satisfy it's intent. I have lost this magnificent day.  It is gone without my interaction in it.  I can never have it back to use again.  Is it my fault?  I think not, especially in my case.  But, I have had a taste of what it would be like to never be able to visit the wild places I love or to ride a motorcycle.  The thoughts of it all are morbid at best.  Well;  I got that all off my chest.  Guess I just needed to write something.