Tuesday, December 27, 2011

First Running Steps

I've probably already misled you with that title. I've got my granddaughter Taylor Rain Gorman and she's 4 months or so shy of two and "First Running Steps" might well apply to her: She's at that age where her body pushes with its strength to run, but at the same time her upper body isn't so connected to her lower body to allow that without a lot of stumbling. So the title doesn't refer to her. And it certainly doesn't refer to Alexa, just turned 4 last week and a girl with a twitch muscle everybody should be envious of: She can run like the wind, endlessly and joyfully and almost disappears from view because she runs so fast and furiously that you're still looking at where she was long after she's no longer anywhere within the parameters of that line of sight.
No, the reference was to me. It's been four years since an ulcer on my intestine exploded and 3 liters of very poisonous material burst into my system, burning my organs and nearly killing me. It didn't and that was great. A subsequent operation was necessary to put my insides back in after I tore open the stitching and staples a few weeks after the initial operation and then the third operation, completely open, was necessary to drain me again then sew me up with stretch bandages inside that were meant to keep me together.
No sweat. I kept acting like I was normal, but I knew I'd ruptured the thing three months after they sewed it into me. And last year my doc confirmed it. No situps, no heavy lifting. Just be content to be a fat old man was his advice.
Good advice if I were an old man, but I'm just me so naturally I kept taking my tours out, kept carrying 100 boxes of veggies when necessary, kept mowing and raking lawns, kept lifting babies and when given the opportunity, kept making love.
Last summer, while with my baby Madeleina, who'd just turned 14, I got depressed that my upper and lower body were not talking to one another. I started walking in Iquitos. Maybe 3 miles a day, incrementally: I'd walk from the hotel to the market and then to my friend Miriam's, maybe 2 miles altogether. Then I'd walk back to the hotel and then back to Miriams.
When I got home, Madeleina wanted me to chase her one day and I couldn't and she asked me if I would ever run again. I laughed and told her that at my very best I was a slow runner and that these days it was a question yet to be answered.
But I did start walking. Fast walking. I would walk around Walmart before going in to buy my dog's chicken and test my blood pressure. I'd walk around Central Market before going in to buy organic veggies and good fish (Sorry veggies and fish. I wish I didn't have to kill you to eat, but it's either you or smashing beans....damn!)
AND THEN I discovered the new little park they built in Joshua, about half a mile from Chepa's house and its 1/2 mile walk. And I began to do 1 turn on that, then 2, then three, plus the Walmart, Central Market, HEB walks. And it was good. And it's been good.
Running was not something I was thinking of. But then today, six or seven months since I began fast walking and trying to make my upper body and lower body know each other again, Madeleina decided to chase me out of the house. And when she did, my body, without me thinking about it, started to run. I'd like to tell you I ran like the wind. I wish I told you I ran 400 yards in a breakneck 46 seconds. I won't. I ran all of 80-100 feet, but I ran. And while I ran I started to laugh. My body knew itself. Maybe out of sorts but it knew itself. It has not known itself for years. And today, in a moment of joy a exhileration--and I know I'm spelling that wrong, darn it--my body just decided to run. Not fast, not cool, but real running: up on my toes, torso forward, legs pumping in unison with arms. And I didn't have to think it. It just happened.
So while I probably misled you with the title of this entry, I didn't mean to. Because for me, these were wonderful, fantastic, joyful, first running steps. And I was happy.

1 comment:

Morgan said...