I walk every day because one time I went to prison, fractured my hip, and then five years later had surgery to correct it. Now it’s a mandatory part of therapy. If my body did not ache when I skipped a walk, I would not bother. I’m quite content to watch the outside from the inside, or to go outside only to sit on a rock and be absorbed by the sun like a puddle.
Just moving my body through space and time and city streets isn’t my first choice of activity, so I have to liven it up a bit. I imagine what lives just under the pavement. I make up stories about the people I see. I take pictures.
I used to be able to take pictures with my phone because it had an amazing camera, but that phone died during the bed rest of my surgery and I transitioned to a brand new older model of phone that takes pictures that are just so-so. I’ve been really excited about this because it’s forced me into using my real camera again. I am a creature of habit. Sometimes I need a nudge.
I fell out of practice of carrying my Canon with me because I had to use a cane and it became too difficult to juggle everything. I’m cane-free now, and that’s a joy I celebrate every time I can hold the camera in both my hands, crouch down, and photograph something.
The joy of the crouch, of the jump, of the unstilted turning around. The joy of walking without the soft click-clack-screee of my hip crying to my brain. I don’t think anyone else could hear it cry, but I could. I’m grateful it has had a healing.
Where I live, there are healing plants that pop up like weeds. Lavender and rosemary, mint and aloes, and these fluffy sticks, maybe natal grass, that my late husband was always able to photograph better than I. Light liked to do what he asked it to, but nobody said anything about that at his funeral.
Today was one of those high grief days. The ones where your lost ones come and sit right beside you. There’s comfort in that space between you, but then everything else– the hallway, the street, the sky itself, becomes space that seems too big to be real. It’s all unfamiliar, this world that has let go of your loved one.
There’s a hysteria you learn to swallow when a hand of your heart has gone to one world, and left the other hand here to take all the beatings on its own.
But a heart has more than two hands, I am sure. I like to think of all the holding yet to come. It calms the quakes.
So instead of panic today, I sat with the feeling of him right next to me. I told him about being able to garden again, being able to crawl around on all fours and pick weeds and meet snails. I told him about my heels and how I’m learning to walk again.
I told him how I’m happy, and the sunlight poured through the window and gave me a hug.
Light has always liked to do what he asks of it.