Looking back…

Pilgrims on the Camino Frances walk across Spain from East to West. So intent on finding the next yellow arrow for direction, they seldom look back. Dwelling on the past, the “should of’s”, the “I wish”, the regrets…only adds weight to your mochila and burdens one in their Camino. But a quick look over the shoulder to catch the beauty of where you have come from, the mountains and valleys and rivers you have crossed…well, that lightens your step. If you must look back, see the beauty in the road you have walked. See how very far you’ve come.

My Why

At the age of 50 I was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s Disease. I decided to do everything I could to combat the progression of this neurological disorder. Shooting baskets and playing guitar were some activities from my youth that I returned to. I added tai chi, riding rode bikes, boxing and kayaking to the list of traditional and non traditional treatments for Parkinsons. I took my medicine and suffered the side effects which made me feel like I was going crazy. Some job changes, medication adjustments and alot of heart searching resulted in the peaceful coexistence I share with the wrotten roomate in my body, Mr. Parkinson. Parkinson tries to steal my facial expression, my voice, my ability to swallow, my handwriting. He made it difficult to pull myself up on the horse or swing my leg over the bike seat to go for a ride. Although I have Parkinson’s, he can’t have me. I will not let my voice and my mobility be taken away by this uninvited guest. I am moving on…
 
On June 1, 2013 I stepped out the door the last time.  I had worked for that employer for 32 years.  I got in my car. We drove to the airport on got on a plane to Paris.  Adding two more to our C-Team group, we made our way to St. Jean Pied de Port France.  We began walking the Camino Frances to Santiago de Compostela.  32 days later we were sitting in front of the Cathedral.  Amazed.
 
Now I return,  The first Camino left me blistered and bruised and I had some amazing bus and taxi experiences, but did not walk the  entire 500 miles as I planned.
 
So I go back to walk.  This blog is named hop skip and jump because I will be traveling across Spain by foot, by bus, by taxi, by train, by bike and if I can swing it even by horse. I will meet my traveing companions, my fellow pilgrims along the WAY.
 
 

Scars and Guitars

fred
Scars and guitars…. I have been looking at alot of guitars lately.  As in many aspects of life I need “accomodations” (or so I think).  Parkinson’s disease has made me “special”.  I was looking for guitars with a bit shorter neck, a bit narrower body.  I looked at my first acoustic guitar.  It was my brother’s.  He sent it to me for my 16th birthday.  There was a lot going on in my life at that time…Expand this post »
Scars and guitars…. I have been looking at alot of guitars lately.  As in many aspects of life I need “accomodations” (or so I think).  Parkinson’s disease has made me “special”.  I was looking for guitars with a bit shorter neck, a bit narrower body.  I looked at my first acoustic guitar.  It was my brother’s.  He sent it to me for my 16th birthday.  There was a lot going on in my life at that time.  And not all of it was happy.  The guitar gave me joy and helped heal some of the wounds.  Music does that to you, you know.  That guitar is no longer playable.  But I remember its first major scar.  We were at Meadowood for a SEARCH retreat, staying in a small lodge which has a sleeping loft.  Someone knocked a pop bottle off the balcony and it skidded across the face of the guitar and left a long scar.  Funny, I remember that  incident so well, and that it left a scar. I don;t remember the songs I played that weekend.
Fred, playing his jazz guitar, wears a bracelet bearing his son’s name.  His beautiful teenage son died in a swimming accident. The loss of a child sucks the breath out of the parents. Fred works on those wounds through writing jazz .  His wounds are  still open and bleeding.  Someday they will heal over…into scars. The music helps him through.
The  old guitar maker called and invited me over to try out some guitars.  First he had me play the first guitar he made for himself.  It was full of scratches and dings … much like himself who for so many years had toiled and labored to make a living. This guitar has autographs. . The autographs of friends, bluegrass and country artists… autographs on his heart…memories of good times that more than erase the scars on his arthritic hands.
The  young man guitar player let me try his cherished guitar.  It has been replaced for daily playing, but he will never part with it.  I felt honored to place my  hand and around its neck and feel where the oils of his hand had worn into the wood.  Holding the guitar I could see the dings on the face and scratched up pick guard.  Scars you would never notice from a distance…scars that are apparent when you are close enough to embrace.
I looked at my current guitar.  It has some dings in it that I put there.  Its just starting to develop its character.  The scars aren’t deep.  They are not obvious unless you get up close. These are my scars.  I think I will keep my guitar.

circles

 Circles never start, nor do they end.  They just are.  And friendships like these never start and never end.  They were meant to always BE.  Miles and marriages and jobs and kids and life take us away from each other.  Somehow we reconnect.  The world is a small or large as it is. 33 years ago we shared classrooms and therapy rooms and the sidewalks of our college campus.  We studied late at night and helped each other memorize the nervous system and Dr. Hahns theories of language expansion.  Eventually we drifted off to excotic places like Hermiston and Stockton and one even landed   in Australia.  Debbie entered the picture and tied another circle onto ours.  The California circle never started, never ended and now it is joined us together.
Susie wants to start a quiet revolution of change.  Carol wants all to find peace in their own hearts, and in their homes and communities before we take on the world. Dana wants to do something completely different than speech path, now that she is all grown up.  Debbie seeks quiet and peace of retirement…isn’t it about time?  And Jules, we miss your accents developed from living in three regions of the world, and we miss your wisdom and your fun (and I miss your moms home made grapejuice).  Julia what is   your wish?
The world is very small, really.  I am glad for these friends who were in my circle of academia.  We meet again near the end of our careers.  Circle still intact.

hop skip and jump Carol returns to the Camino

walPilgrims on the Camino Frances walk across Spain from East to West. So intent on finding the next yellow arrow for direction, they seldom look back.  Dwelling on the past, the “should of’s”, the “I wish”, the regrets…only adds weight to your mochila  and burdens one in  their Camino.  But a quick look over the shoulder to catch the beauty of where you have come from, the mountains and valleys and rivers you have crossed…well, that lightens your step.  If you must look back, see the beauty in the road you have walked. See how very far you’ve come