Visiting Sedona, AZ, recently, I was impressed by many things. I was inspired by the artists and artwork in Tlaquepaque Village, as well as in other venues around Sedona. The drive through Oak Creek Canyon and Coconino National Forest was breathtaking and so peaceful. And anytime I can witness a gentle stream surrounded by prodigious trees, I am a happy girl.
Despite my gimpy hip, we did some hiking. Our group consisted of myself, my two older, stair-step sisters, and our 80-year old mother. I kept up with mom – no record setting for me. After my first shot of cortisone a year ago, I recognize my own mortality – or at least that of my hip. Careful, measured steps took me through this wondrous terrain, the sun looking different than I’d ever seen it.
We took photo breaks, chatted up other hikers, and processed along the path. While many hikers were younger, there were a fair number older than our group, too. On the way back, we were passed by several mountain bikers. My sisters and I were mid-congratulations on completing the three-mile trek when another biker flew past. He wheezed ‘hey’ to us and I stopped in my tracks. As his dust settled, I elbowed my sister. “Look!” I whisper-shouted.
This specimen of the human body, this athlete, this biker. Had. Only. One. Leg. No prosthetic on the other side, just riding uphill on the trail with ONE LEG. Peddling his lungs out with ONE LEG. Navigating the rocks with ONE LEG.My sisters and mom and I marveled, immediately reassessing our athletic prowess and taking it down a few notches.
I see Mr. Mountain Biker as a metaphor. Everyone has struggles – physical, mental, emotional, or some combination thereof. It’s so easy to get tunnel vision when it comes to your own strife. Easy to spend time planning your own pity party. And the wallowing…..don’t forget about the wallowing. Right now, I can list a solid seven ailments with which I am afflicted. Certainly, they’re minor compared to those of others – perspective is everything. Oh, and hang, on, let me check…yep, turns out I have TWO legs.
The next time I’m feeling embittered about my mind’s or body’s failings, I’m going to call up the image of Mr. Mountain Biker. I rather doubt he was there to serve as my example or my inspiration. Probably just there to ride his bike. Even so, he reminded me that, even on those days when it feels like you’re up against a ten percent grade, keep pedaling.