“I will walk this road a while, I will walk it with a smile, I will take it in my stride, someday I’ll be satisfied”
Allen Reynolds, My Ship will sail
As you can see the weather last Sunday was glorious. The air was so clear that the whole world looked different. The road you see far away is HW101. From our climb up to Gaviota peak it was nothing more than a line running through the hills. The speed and traffic down there was nothing. As we went up I did not really think about that, I just enjoyed, and obviously I took my time, as the picture is taken by my husband, waiting for me further uphill.
Then, two miles into the hike my knees told me that they were not happy. I was surprised, “you have never complained before, what is this all about”, I asked my body. Pain and more pain was the answer, until my right knee locked and would not bend at all. As this was new to me, I just told my husband to keep going. I would turn around and slowly start going back. He would join me when returning.
I started to walk, slowly. I am used to pain, but this knee did not only hurt, it alternated between being locked and being all loose so I could not trust my leg. Gradually my thoughts got all tangled, with anxiety, with fear, with resentment, and well…with pain. What if I tumbled down the ravine, what if I fell in the grass, where were the snakes and the mountain lions, was that a turkey vulture? Then, what if I had to do surgery on my knees, how should a helicopter be able to pick me up if I gave in, and oh, there was no phone service.. You see, pretty pessimistic for a normally sunny soul.
As my steps were only inches long, as I had to stop and hold on to every tree, stone or gate I found, I had lots of time for thinking, and for reflecting on my own thinking. As I slowly eked forward I tried to focus on what fear was real, and what was fear for “could be real”. The fact was I was outside, I could enjoy the vistas, I had not seen a dangerous animal at all. And later, rather than sooner I had to be somewhere were my phone worked and where I could be picked up. The knee hurt just as much when moving as when resting. There was only one thing to do, leave all the worries in a tangle to be dealt with if their time came, and keep walking.
So I did. I took pictures when I rested, I inhaled the crisp mountain air, and of course I sang, of course I prayed. No one else was around, and the hills got a consert of my whole repertoire from Bach’s “Ich Halte treulich Still” to Cash’s “I’ll take it in my stride”. Three hours later I was back in our car, knee throbbing but none of my other worries had materialized yet. Then Stig came, and we drove home.
The next morning my knees were good. I do not know why. Unfortunately I know too well that most problems won’t go away just by me plodding and singing along. Some of them do though, and for those that don’t, at least it helps to take some strides at the time and let the other wait their time. And then of course, praying, singing and smiling are untangling tools by themselves.