Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pacing Myself

You can't tell from this picture I took a few minutes ago, but today there is a gentle breeze that makes the treetops full of dry, yellow and orange leaves say, "Shhhh." I know because I sauntered up and back on this road just before lunch. I've been daydreaming about feeling well enough to go out for walks so it felt like a dream come true.
Saunter, stroll, however you want to think of it, the pace was very slow. And there were moments that felt sacred. Like when I stopped to take in the myriad scents all around me, the most pronounced being the thick piles of wet leaves and pine needles. Ahhhh, it smelled so good! I also had to stop, close my eyes, and let the warm sun shower me in its brilliant light and breathe in deep breaths.
At the top of a rather long incline, I stopped for a moment's rest and noticed a small snake in the middle of the road. At first I thought it was roadkill until I got right on top of it and its head was lifted up. I took a wide berth around it and caught sight of a blue jay criss crossing the road in front of me, like a self-designated spy checking me out. It seems that slowing down has its benefits. I heard the hollow rat-a-tat-tat of a woodpecker echo through a stand of leafless trees. Unseen squirrels chirped off and on and I imagined them storing acorns for the cold weather that's just around the corner. The inevitable caw-caw of a crow punctured the serenity but I didn't mind. I even heard the gentle snorts of Ava's favorite horses off in the distance.
For that short half hour, I accomplished a few things. First, I actually took a walk! Second, I sucked in as much fresh air as I possibly could, while I could! Third, I discovered a new sense of hope that one day my life will no longer be focused on this interruption called breast cancer. Nope. One day, I will resume my brisk, two-mile walks on our dirt road and return to Curves to rebuild the strength in my muscles and bones. One day, I will feel healthy again. I know it. I look forward to it. I can get through these next few months. I can! I will! And just like I had to pace myself to go for this half-hour stroll, I will pace myself as I navigate the second half of my breast cancer journey.

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