When you walk, you are telling the story of your life with your body language. The way you move your feet tells others who you are if they pay attention to you as you place one foot in front of the other. I did not realize this reality until after my accident, after I could no longer walk on my own two legs, without the use of crutches.
That was when I began to pay attention to simple things like someone just passing by, moving so effortlessly, like a river flowing through a field of vegetables and fruits, becoming one with the valley.
And, slowly, I began to understand the marvel and poetry of the human body walking down the road.
Do I lament that I can no longer walk like I used to? That every step I take now comes with a shot of pain? Yes—but no. Yes, because the human brain is nostalgic. But no, because the injury has taught me to begin to see the world differently. Pain, I now realize, is a crucial part of embracing life. What would life be without its suffering? It would be like getting drunk on sweet wine, and remaining drunk throughout your life, suspended in an empty ecstasy.
Now, I enjoy this more nuanced story of the human body walking through the world. And my story is a journey that will continue to define how I read the biological body, how I view my own body and relate to the body of everyone I meet. How I even see the trees that appear rooted to the spot, even as they move to the music of the breeze.
It is a different way to live. It is a painful story, but would I really have that pain deleted from my memory if I could?
Yes, it sounds tempting to welcome that power, but it would certainly remove from me a joy that this painful perception has brought me. Giving birth to a new life, the uterus must bear an agony of joy.
Is this not what life is all about? And I enjoy looking at you, beautiful people, walking by, as I read your story from the way you move your feet.
I am back “home” now in Austin, TX, and loving the coffee.
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