January 9, 2024

Sigh. It’s going to be a while before we can be back here.


Stercus accidit.

(Shit happens)

-David Hume


About four days ago, I was walking down the stairs at our apartment building, taking the dog out for doggy business.  I was midflight, Waldo was down a flight in front of me, when I misstepped, hyperextending my right ankle.  Down I went, falling against the wall, then on to the landing.  My immediate thought was, “Damn!  No rail-trail today.”   Once on the floor, I did a quick systems check.  Yep, my ankle hurt.  It was the same injury, done in the same way, as two years ago, only this time, not nearly as painful.  Waldo stopped his progress toward the door and the great beyond, turned and looked at me and waited.  With some wincing, I stood and put weight on the foot.  Not a whole lot worse.  A wave of nausea and sweating flowed over me and then subsided.  I took a step.  I could hobble.  Waldo could see that I was upright and moving, so he continued on his way.  That’s about as much sympathy as I get.  Anyway, we carried on, just a lot more slowly than usual, and did the doggy duty.

Today, walking is painful, but not too bad.  What bothers me the most is that the ankle is stiff and if I try to bend it, it hurts more.  Not unbearably so, mind you, but I worry that doing too much will make the recovery time longer and, dammit, we need to get back to the rail-trail.  At home, I elevate the foot and wait for it to heal (the pain and swelling aren’t so bad that I need to use ice or wrap it).  When we go out, I walk stiff-legged on the injured side and make do as best I can.  Waldo adjusts his pace as well, or rather, he trots back and forth in front of me, doing S turns.  He burns off his energy as best he can, while being tethered to a not-so-moveable object.  Sorry, buddy, you are not going to like the next few days and maybe weeks.  But there is little choice.

The weather has been a little chilly, with highs in the low 40s and lows in the high 20s, but it’s been dry.  As one day morphs into the next, I’ve become more depressed.  Not significantly so, but I can feel it.  I’m attached to being out in nature, walking with Waldo, and I miss it.  Waldo seems to take it all in stride.  He’s a happy puppy and that doesn’t change.  He does romp a little more vigorously than usual, but he doesn’t exhibit any bad-dog behavior, like chewing on stuff that he shouldn’t.  He seems to live in the moment; he just has more energy to vent than normal, in that moment.

Life throws all kinds of things at us that we don’t intend.  With a little thought, you can usually trace out a causal chain of events that explains how things happen, but that does little to allow us to control it.  It’s up to us to decide how we’re going to respond to what life offers us.  Me, I try to put some thought to it, put my shoulder to the boulder and push it on uphill.  In this case, I walk as necessary to see that Waldo gets to relieve himself, then try to judge how my ankle is reacting and decide how far to go the next day.  I’ve decided to try to walk one to two miles tomorrow, wearing my hiking boots.  Day after tomorrow, I’ll assess how my ankle is doing, then decide how far to push it from there.  The spirit is demanding, but the goddammed old-age flesh is frustratingly weak.

Waldo has a different approach.  It’s all hell-bent-for-leather and do as much as he can.  When his legs were sore after his vaccinations, he hobbled around, favoring them, but pushed it as hard as he could.  He didn’t try to limit how much he was going to do.  He was continuing on as long as I let him.  He’s a lot younger than I am, though, and can get away with it.  I’ve learned, the hard way, that I can no longer do that.  If I try, I’ll pay a steep price.  Dammit.  All I can do is push the damn rock up the hill judiciously.

I’m also frustrated by the fact that Phyllis and I only have 5 more legs of the Bay Circuit Trail to do before we get to the end.  I was hoping we could at least get closer before the first significant snowfall.  Now that doesn’t look so probable at all.  Sigh.

But Waldo and I are still out there, trying.


I’d be more than happy with a wet day.

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