Wednesday, November 4, 2015

thanks, legs

don't look down...but do.

Yesterday I woke up at 3:45..... waaaaaay earlier than any human should ever have to wake up, if you want my honest opinion. I headed down the canyon--no one else out but the deer crossing the road on every single corner--on my way to my second clinical shift. Our shifts this semester are in a long term care facility (aka, nursing home) and things have been, AHEM, eye more ways than we should probably discuss here.

As I was helping the sweetest little old lady out of her bed and on to breakfast, we talked about Halloween, her grand kids, and the other ladies in the hall (just so you know, women continue to be gossipy well in to their 80s). We would talk and she would be making complete sense, and then she'd kind of slip away and switch over to nonsense mumbo-jumbo conversation for a while, before returning back to herself with complete wit and charm. At one point she looked down at her legs, and said "look at my legs! They are so old!" It was like she was seeing them for the first time in years--and she was shocked. Then she looked right at me--IN to me almost, grabbed my arm, and said "HOW did I get this old?"

Her comment sat on my shoulders all day. It made me think.  Made me nervous. Sometimes I feel this way. I don't FEEL 32--I feel much younger. But I sometimes have moments where I really open my eyes and I'm like, "whhhaaaaaat?! I have two kids! 8 and 10?! HOW?! WHEN?! ME??!!" 
It's a panicky feeling, how quickly time goes by.

So I did what I do when I need to think--I went for a quick run after school to sort through everything. As I ran and felt my muscles burn, I wondered what my 80 year old legs will look like? They'll still be chicken legs, I'm sure of it. My right leg will still have a gnarly varicose vein--a souvenir from my Lucy. But I hope when I look down and see them, it won't be in shock. I hope they'll be old and tired from all the adventures they took me on, all the mountains they climbed, all the scratches and scrapes and bruises they got from falling down, and always getting back up.

A couple weeks ago we headed south to soak up some desert sun one last time before winter sets in. We camped, we explored, we counted stars, and we ate fantastic burgers.....the perfect weekend. One morning we got up before the sun, and headed up high above the desert floor. We watched the blankets of clouds roll back and the sun rise up between them.
Our plan was to head back down.....but not the way we came. No. STRAIGHT down, into the earth where the sun had yet to reach. Over the edge of the solid red rock beneath our feet, and DOWN, feet dangling over the desert floor below.

I totally kept my cool.

I thought I was going to puke. Now, I'm not saying "I thought I was going to puke" in a figurative way, to add an extra descriptive sentence to my story. I LITERALLY thought I was going to throw up, and found myself trying to find the best way to go about it. 
(Yeah, there is no best way to go about that).

My legs shook. They bounced. They almost jumped me right back down the trail.
And then, first step off.
Second step off.  
(there was quite the pause between this first two steps, mind you. 
But I never puked, so I'm ok with that.)
And then, they left the wall altogether. They scooby-doo'd a bit as I gathered myself together and looked around to take in my surroundings--140ft off the ground. 
"WOOHOO!!!" What a feeling, let me tell you. 
My legs landed me safely on the ground, and we hiked on to our next drop. 
And our next, and our next.
Dropping through holes,
squeezing through cracks.
My hoots and hollers echoing off the walls.
I hope that in sixty years my little legs are still carrying me around, no problem. A little slower, a little more effort required, sure--but I hope that I can remember when they were strong and quick and took me places not many people get to see. I hope I remember they always kept me side by side with the best of the best people. I hope I never have to look down in shock and not remember how they got so old.
I want to remember every step along the way.

this month I'm working hard to really open my eyes and notice all the good around me every day--all the "normal" things that I'm thankful for. Join me on IG (@_sheenarae) by tagging your photos #thankfulforthenormal

what are you thankful for today?

all photos taken in Capitol Reef National Park with our iPhones

Gear Up:

Patagonia R3 Fleece  (Mine is from a previous year and has a hood but this is THE best jacket!!) 
(Mens) Prana Stretch Zion Pant (Robby's all time favorite pants--for everything)


Adria said...

In the words of Liz Lemon, "I want to go to there!" Thanks for sharing your beautiful thoughts, photos, and adventures--it's truly inspiring <3

NatalieC said...

I'm one of your silent readers, but have followed you for a while now and I just wanted to say I'm glad your back to blogging. I always enjoy what you have to say and I especially love your pictures. Thanks for sharing your life with us. :)

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I will be looking forward to your next post. Thank you
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