C minus 17, but who is counting

Getting up off the bedroom floor and looking down at the carpet I see the complete shape of my body. It’s an outline left from my sweat. I would have drowned in that pool if the carpet had not  been there to soak it up!

Just a few minutes before,  I came in from the walk and plopped down on the couch.  Both hands were tremoring.  And I mean TREMORING!  I called to Charlie.  “Come here, you have got to see this!”  He took a look and said “Oh yeah. Look at that.  Remember you have just put a big strain on your body.  It was really hot out there. Cool off and rest”. I managed to remove my boots and socks and stagger a few steps before collapsing on the bedroom floor. The walk was the fastest I’ve walked 5 miles, I am sure of  it.  I didn’t have my backpack on thank goodness!   It was enough to be out in the almost 90° weather walking  on sidewalks, roads and a paved path. I learned from bicycling that  heat  generates up from black top. In addition to the 90° air temperature that makes over  hundred degrees walking. Add to that,  I woke up this morning with a terrific headache. Charlie and I talked about being able to have the discipline to keep moving toward our goals in adverse conditions and today’s walk was a great example of it. I am TOUGH!

About three years ago I joined the pilgrims of the Portlandia chapter of the American Pilgrims on the Camino for one of their Sundays strolls. Even with my trekking poles I was so slow  that I fell way behind the entire group.  Pilgrim Robin had the “sweep up” role on the hike.  She and I visited about our camino experiences as the dust settled from the other pilgrims ahead of us.   I was slow, uncoordinated and in pain.

This past  Sunday my friend  Carol and I joined the Portlandia group for the third Sunday stroll and the “shells ceremony”. This lovely tradition is a  blessing from past pilgrims to the new pilgrims who will be walking the Camino within the next month. Two things were especially meaningful to me as I shared this experience with the 60 plus pilgrims gathered. First,  to be able to walk unassisted with a strong pace near the front of the group while carrying on a conversation amazed me.  For two miles I easily navigated speedy straightaways,  tight switchbacks, traverses up and down  steep creek-bed banks. Wow! I’m sure that no one else  could understand what it meant to me to be able to move with such agility.The ear to ear grin may have been seen yet not questioned.  At first  I held this other picture in my mind, the one of the slow pilgrim disabled by Parkinson’s Disease. This walk greatly diminished that image.
Secondly,  I was touched to receive a blessing from people who have walked before us  and who will be walking with us on the Camino in their hearts.I will carry the new shell for them.

As Charlie and I left the driveway of  our  house this morning I recalled the time  I just started to walk again.  I walked out the front door  to the mailbox and back.  Next time I walked out door, I made it across the street. Then  I made it to the sidewalk and down to the next driveway, out  the corner of the street, to the hospital and back around the hospital and back of the Butte. And before too long I was up and down the Butte three times in a row.

There’s no putting a price tag on these experiences.  There is no measure of  my gratefulness.

Charlie and I talked more about discipline. The discipline to walk when you have a splitting headache. The disciple to walk when recovering from an injury. The disciplie to walk when your body is frozen with Parkinson’s Disease. The discipline to walk even if that means slowly putting 1 foot in front of the other.  Discipline to keep moving. Keep Moving. Keep moving. keep moving. Discipline  and the spirit of determination to fight Parkinson’s as it tries to gain  controll   That’s what keeps us going in life.   You  have to put one foot in front of the other when your heart is broken when your spirit is shattered when you have lost a loved one when your job sucks. Take one little positive action,  one little step at a time, moving forward. Soon the miles are covered, the hardship is overcome and you come to that  place of peace and where you can rest for a while.

 C minus 17 days. The countdown has begun. 

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