A Post from Rusty Truck Acres

I woke up still not dead again today.

Willie Nelson

I walked for twenty minutes today. For this intrepid hiker, that probably seems like no big deal, hardly worth mentioning, but it is indeed a big deal for me today. I will tell you why.

A few weeks ago, while walking my dog Lulu on a Saturday evening, she spotted a squirrel and gave chase, running in front of me and behind me, wrapping the leash around my feet, and knocking me to the ground with a crash. The crash turned out to be my shoulder. About an hour later, after enduring various painful contortions to get an x-ray, I learned that I had fractured my scapula and in the process caused a dislocation of the shoulder. “A nice clean break,” they called it, but I could not find anything nice about it, and there were about a thousand things I would rather be doing on a Saturday night.

The good news about “nice and clean” is that I will probably not need surgery. Scapular fractures typically heal on their own without intervention. That healing process, however, will likely require a few months of “taking it easy,” and, as you might have figured out by now, I am not a big fan of “taking it easy.”

So it is that the twenty minute walk seems like a great adventure. The time is limited by how much pain I can tolerate, for even the light jostling movement created by walking on a dirt road is difficult for me. I am learning a great deal about my body, one of which is that no part of it ever moves in isolation. Even with my arm in a sling and held close to my body, the movement of walking creates movement in the shoulder girdle, which has turned out to be quite painful. Lulu goes with me, and is delighted that she gets to be off leash these days. She runs ahead and then back again, as if she is checking on me. I am uplifted as I watch her leaping into the air and running at full speed around the circle that is my driveway just because she can. I cannot.

Inevitably on our circuits we walk by the old rusty truck, which has been on this property since long before I bought it. I know nothing about old vehicles, but it appears to be older than I am, which I find comforting. Of course it has a story to tell, but I do not know it. Was it once shiny and new? Did children ride in the back on the way to cut firewood? How did it come to be abandoned on this hill above Curlew Lake, a snowberry bush growing out of one of the doors, a home for mice in the rotting upholstery? Sometimes I think it is looking at me with a kind of sinister grin, as if to remind me of what happens when one breaks down.

Unlike Rusty Truck, however, my own scars remind me that I am a living, breathing organism, and I too have a story to tell. The first scar I ever received is on my knee, when I slipped on Red Reef Rock just as my father said, “Watch out, it’s slick!” He grabbed me by one arm and quickly lifted me out of harm’s way, but not before I had gouged my knee on the red rock. It bled profusely, the blood running down my leg and dropping onto the trail on the short hike back to camp, but when it had healed, I had my first scar, and I was proud of it. I had nearly slipped into the swirling waters of the Skokomish River, and the scar was proof that I had lived to tell the story. Every scar on my body was acquired while hiking or backpacking, and they all tell the same story, the one that Willie Nelson tells, “still not dead.”

I am told that this injury will most likely heal completely, perhaps with some limitation in the mobility of that joint, but I am working on that. Another scar. Another story. I am not yet ready to be parked and abandoned among the pine trees, but Rusty Truck is a reminder. Everyday she says to me, “Live now.”

Published by Colleen Drake

Colleen Drake (AKA Teacup) has over sixty years of hiking exerience (yes, I'm really old) and has seen some pretty big changes over those many years. Join her on the Solitude Trail & share some of these adventures while exploring with her the value of solitude in the wilderness.

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