Saturday, October 11, 2008

Reflections on a Healing Journey

Today was a glorious day, with the autumn colors dressing the trees in bright reds, oranges and yellows. It was a perfect day to go for a walk in the woods.

I hadn't visited the local conservation areas in many months, as most of the walking I do is in my own neighborhood, so today I gave myself a treat. I went to the Amethyst Brooke Conservation Area, and walked on the Robert Frost Trail. As I walked through the woods on paths covered with leaves, and smelled the smells of Earth and Autumn and Nature, several lines from Robert Frost poems went through my head. "Whose woods these are I think I know, his house is in the village though." And my favorite, "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood, and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth..." I even imagine that the woods Robert Frost wrote about were the very woods I was in, with two roads in a yellow wood.

It was just 11 months ago that I went for my first walk in the woods after I experienced spinal collapse. At that point I had grown strong enough to walk with trekking poles on uneven ground, and my destination one warm November day was the very same Amethyst Brooke Conservation Area that I visited today. But today I needed no trekking poles. And today, when I came to the log over a small stream, I recalled that 11 months ago I had been unable to continue.

But today, as I stood before this log, I took a deep breath, focused on my core stability and my balance, and walked 10' across a narrow log spanning a small stream. It was wonderful! It felt like a right of passage, a gateway, a milestone.

Crossing this log over the stream marks a significant stage in my healing journey. It marks my independence, that I can go for walks on my own in the woods and not be impeded. It marks my ability to navigate a challenge. It marks my courage, to face what was once impossible and to find that it has become possible. And it symbolizes the obstacles I still face, and the knowing that I will surmount them.

It is as simple as taking a deep breath and crossing a narrow log over a stream.

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