Flesh meets hard concrete

Mature lady trips in Mission Beach

“Not quite the cerulean clarity of Venice, but a clear and lustrous blue that wraps around my vistas.”
  • “Not quite the cerulean clarity of Venice, but a clear and lustrous blue that wraps around my vistas.”

My mother has been dead for two years now, but we never cease to feel that we have been given a gift by her inheritance, which allowed for our condo here. (Today, I am silently fretting about the overly hot weather, but my friends and family are shivering at -17 and worse in Toronto.) Partly, it is the color of the sky: not quite the cerulean clarity of Venice, but a clear and lustrous blue that wraps around my vistas. Here I view the sky through dappled trees that recall the sidewalks of the Impressionists, so I enjoy turning my head upward.

And there is the landscape. Outside our condo, the magenta bougainvillea welcome every day. Along the path toward our door, huge fans of fringed palms frame our entrance. And along the side, white flowers that recall for me the shape of Canterbury bells. The condo and its grounds establish my oasis.

Our San Diego habitat holds small secrets. A painting of a Muskoka landscape — Howard commissioned it for one of my milestone birthdays — presents three separate but adjacent trees moving to the hum of the winds. To me, they represent my three wonderful children, each so different from the others. Here, too, on a walk in Solana Beach at Fletcher’s Cove, I gathered a trio of flat, but distinctly and differently marked stones. I arranged them at the foot of a tiny Buddha seated on a platform of brightly colored Mexican tiles that surround photos of my grandchildren. As if it were a tiny altar, I pay tribute to my children, who have, along with their father, fostered my growth in unexpected and unintended ways.

Today, I hobble to the store because I tripped yesterday, at Mission Beach. It was not a new experience; already, one knee is permanently purple from its meeting with the ground. Last summer, at a vineyard wedding, I lost my footing on a hillock. Blushing with anger and embarrassment, I quickly popped back up, hoping that the other guests with their tinkling champagne glasses were more focused on the cascading flowers entwined in the boughs overhead than on a tumbling, mature lady. But then a thoughtful guest came by to express that she had never seen anyone tumble so elegantly. That comment eased me back into the gay mood of the event, and fortunately for me, I did not tear my pink dress from Thailand or dirty my silver heels from Spain.

At Mission Beach, the walkway is varied and slightly rocky, as if the ground had been creased and pleated, and so I once again lost my footing. As I began to trip, I tried to straighten myself, and even felt that I was indeed regaining my upright stature. But a second later, I perceived I could not do it, my innate and lopsided senses seeking their  own points of reference. And so, once more, flesh met hard concrete .

So it goes with me. If I cast my eyes to the ground to observe the undulating surface, I encounter a pole, a tree, a door. Should I gaze straight ahead, my feet tangle with the unevenness of the street. It is a conundrum for one so awkward in connection with the pavements beneath, because my true paths exist somewhere deep in my imagination, unconnected with my wobbling feet.

The results this time are badly crusted medallions on both knees, and worse yet, a leg that refuses to bend. Each day I ice and re-ice, elevate, walk for brief amounts of time, and eventually, slowly attempt to extend the knee’s angle a few degrees. I am angry to miss my yoga and pilates classes, but I cannot transition from floor to standing without support. But I am humbled to think of my father. Because of his polio, he could not stand or move at all without his crutches, and every uneven sidewalk was a possible invitation to a fall from which he might not be able to regain his mobility. So we/I should not complain.

The sun is back out, and the variety of greenery draws my eyes as I drink my coffee. My mind rests. Maybe wearing knee pads is the answer.

Post Title: Tripping the Life Fantastic | Post Date: February 20, 2016 | Blog: Blogging Boomer | Author: Dr. Patricia Goldblatt | From: La Jolla | Blogging since: November 2013

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