Friday, June 15, 2018

June 15, 2018 a poem

This has been an interesting journey for me. Without having to report to a job, either paid or volunteer, my time is truly my own. Not every waking moment includes introspection or productivity, or doing of anything. I'm even hesitant to establish any kind of schedule for anything, except meditation and yoga practices. I do begin most days with both of those habits. With that I can feel pretty complete and let the rest of the day unfold as it will.

I know this will change, everything does. So I am doing my best to be in the present moment each day. I am always surprised at how quickly the time passes with whatever I choose to do. Today I made the effort to work on my Chair Yoga teacher training course outline. Something that is important to me and yet, I can procrastinate getting to it quite well.

me and Brownie on the Mickelson trail
The weather was fine the other day so I went for a 20 mile bike ride on the Mickelson Trail. Yesterday it was blazing hot,(100+ degrees) so the neighbor and I decided it would be a good goof off day, going for a drive, doing some shopping, lunch, all things that would provide AC to keep us cool. I also make a little time for knitting, picking my banjo and writing.

On one of my hikes shortly after my arrival here I sat down and came up with this poem. I call it,
My Old Friend.

My Old Friend

The trail is like an old friend
Always with me to the end
Listening with an open ear
To help me face my fear.

And when I go off the path as if to stray
The old friend is there to guide my way
I watch the sunlight dance on the water’s surface
As we both flow on to our purpose.

Travel lightly, travel long
Know all the while you’re not alone
Along the trail, whether dusty or dry
The old friend will be there when you cry.

The beauty of each long mile 
Will bring back that beautiful smile
Moss gives comfort cushioning a rock
Giving me time to think and maybe talk

When I feel like falling apart
The trail will be there to warm my heart
Even thought there’s no one to listen 
I watch the suns rays as they glisten.

And wonder at the blue sky
Asking myself the question, why?
Where on the trail it might be hidden
I know the answer lies within.

The end of my walk is near
I know there is nothing to fear
The trail is like an old friend
Always with me to the end

Monday, June 11, 2018

June 11, 2018 A little pain to slow me down

I think there’s nothing quite like pain that will make a person stand up and take notice, or as the case may be lie down on a heating pad and hope for some relief. 

Brownie and Humpty having a story
On long days of driving when I wasn’t going to be with someone, I would take a break after 2 or 3 hours of driving and go for a long walk or a bike ride. It was a nice way to explore the communities a little, have some lunch and get some exercise. From Missoula to Billings I stopped in Bozeman for my break. They have a wonderful trail system with free parking near the library, so Brownie and I took a walk in the park.There were may others out enjoying the beautiful spring day too. The sky truly is big in Montana, with wide open spaces and big puffy clouds.
view from the top

I made it to Billings and checked in to an historic old hotel downtown, the Dude Rancher Lodge. Not my best choice, but their ad made it sound like it had been renovated like some other old hotels I’ve been in. The room was frighteningly dirty. I was afraid if I took my shoes off, my feet would stick to the carpet. The bathroom was relatively clean, but the sheets were questionable. My phone rang shortly after I walked in to survey this accommodation and I chatted with my friend Debbie for a few minutes. This gave me more time to really see what this room looked like and I decided there was no way I was going to stay here. I didn’t say anything to her about it, just told her I needed to call Jay and that I would catch up with her later. 

downtown Billings
I went to the front desk and politely inquired if they didn’t have a cleaner room available? I told her the carpet in that room was beyond filthy. She said why yes, we do. I can put you on the second floor in the renovated rooms. They are much nicer, we just haven’t gotten around to the first floor and a lot of dirt gets tracked in from the parking lot on those carpets. Honey, I’ve got news for you, those carpets have a lot more than dirt from the parking lot on them, and by the way, what in the hell is all over the walls?

So I moved up to the second floor which was much cleaner but in the renovation work they failed to upgrade the AC unit which blew air out of it, but none of it was cool. I shut that off, cracked open the window, and unplugged the fridge which of course was running constantly, and after wandering downtown to get some supper I settled down to get a little sleep so I could safely finish my journey to CSP the next day.

It was a warm, sunny morning, good for getting an early start for about a 5 hour drive. I was very happy to be leaving the Dude Rancher Lodge, definitely mark that one off the list of places to go back to, and headed east toward Sheridan, Wyoming.

Since I didn’t sleep very well I thought Sheridan would be a good place for my break. About 2 hours driving, and a good place to get fuel and lunch. It was my lucky day, at the gas station there was a food truck selling burritos. I got a burrito the size of my head full of grass fed beef, beans, lettuce and salsa verde. Making my way again to the library parking lot, near the town park and trails, I found a little bit of shade for my lunch and a nap.

After resting and letting my lunch settle, I wanted to take my bike out and explore Kendrick Park. It’s a nature preserve right in town with elk and buffalo. Not like I’m not going to see plenty of those where I’m going, but a bike ride will be a great way to explore. I got all geared up and slowly set out, there being a lot of people in the park, and not knowing exactly which way to go. The path crossed a residential street that had cars parked on both sides. I saw a pick-up truck coming my direction and thought I would cross as it was going slow. But I didn’t see on the other side of the parked car that there was another car on the street right at the crossing. I had just pedaled down and saw it out of the corner of my eye, slammed on my brakes and managed to land on the crossbar of my bike on the inner left side of my groin. 

Wow!! Did that hurt or what?, I thought. Never done that before in all my years of riding. The car went on it’s merry way, I let the truck pass by, then continued to cross to the other side and the path. My inner groin was sore and I thought I’ll probably have a pretty bad bruise there. I kept going, taking in the sights of the kids playing, the amphitheater, the swimming pool and uphill to the game preserve seeing a couple of buffalo and elk hanging out together. I went on to another part of the loop trail, all nicely paved and then downhill back to my car. I checked on my inner leg and it was sore, but I didn’t think much of it. Loaded up the bike, stowed my gear and headed on my way east. 

I finally made it to CSP about 5:00 in the afternoon and Jay was pretty darn happy to see me. I told him about my escapade in Sheridan and he asked if I was wearing my helmet. Yes I was, but I think a cup would have been a better safety option for this little accident.

my bike having a rest
The next morning I checked on my inner leg to assess the damage as I was feeling some serious discomfort there. I had a bruise the size of a goose egg, very tender spot on my pubic bone and a very purple bruise. (sorry, no pictures! Private parts you know.) Dang! What a way to start my summer, with an injury. It really didn’t seem to bother me too much, until I went for another bike ride, that was uncomfortable. So I thought I’ll give that a rest and just hike until it heals. The first 3 mile hike was okay. The next 4 mile hike a few days later, the last uphill mile was a challenge, mostly for my low back. Then I did an easy 7 miles, meaning not much grade change and after that, my back was giving me more pain than my groin. Great. No, not great. I hurt, a lot. I didn’t know where that back pain was coming from. Pulled muscle? Pinched nerve? Didn’t feel like either of those, but I was recently given the diagnoses of arthritis there and in my hips. If that’s what arthritis feels like, I’d like to take a pass on that. 

I'm so happy to see you, Ruby says
A couple of days of heat and ice, anti-inflammatory meds and some easy walking, I feel like a new person. The goose egg has all but vanished, the purple bruise is lightening in color, my low back feels like nothing happened. I know the arthritis can flare at any time, and that I might fall again on my bike. But I know I must still allow for some healing. It takes longer the older I get. 

This short experience with chronic pain has given me good insight into what Jay feels with his back pain, and what many of my students who come to my yoga classes might be experiencing. As I moved through my yoga practice I spent time checking in with what my body needed during this time of healing and did less than what might be a typical practice for me. I reminded myself to explore the sensations in my body, how does a particular movement feel in my groin, my low back? Is this helping or hurting at this time? How can I take this experience back to my students? 

It was another gentle reminder from the universe to be present and to take care of myself. I also noted that this accident happened on the last day of my long driving trip. I had been on the road for 20 days. I was beginning to feel tired, even with my breaks. Travel can do that. Even though we are excited for the adventure, to have new experiences, even with the best intentions of awareness and rest, when we go too long, our senses can become overwhelmed. It helps to know my limits. Now having been at CSP for 2 weeks, I am enjoying my time, waiting for the next adventure to begin.
I'm happy to see you too!

July 28, 2018 It's been a busy month

It’s been a busy month. Brownie at Black Elk Peak aka Harney Peak After we shipped our grandson back home, we rested a little t...