When I was first told in the ER that my collarbone injury would keep me off the bike for at least 4 weeks, I was really bummed.
What was I going to do to make up a hundred miles a week?
Once I was back in Dallas that answer appeared to me. In front of me, actually. In the form of Sally, my younger Cairn. She was always up for a walk. And with Harry’s advancing age, it was a way to give her solo dog practice ahead of that inevitable day when he leaves us for the Rainbow Bridge.
I did the math and figured that if I did around 25 miles a week that I might come close to the aerobic activity I was sidelined from. So, 5 miles a day in multiple walks became the goal (and adding in another 5-10 miles on the recumbent trainer).
She became my partner and motivator. Most days she’d prompt me with a well-placed throaty “ummm.” And on the trail I learned when she got tired.
Our local coffee shop welcomed us. Her, actually: “hi, Sally,” Natalie and the girls would say. I don’t think most of them know my name.
Then we took on a mission. Combining my love of public mural art and having to walk, we set out to walk parts of the routes I had ridden on my bike in groups.
Oh, the art we saw. Following Main Street through Deep Ellum, the out-and-back walk uncovered nearly 20 murals. Most I hadn’t seen before because I’d been too busy pedaling past them. Same with the 30-plus murals on Elm Street.
My four-week doctor visit resulted in another 3-week layoff. We kept up the miles and tours. Deep Ellum, around White Rock Lake, along the Trinity and many trips ending at the coffee shop. Sometimes friends would join us on our exploratory walks.
The lesson here is when given an alternative, embrace it. I do miss the bike (yup, I’ve done a few 1- or 2-mile “cheater” rides, I confess). However, the new time with Sally and seeing what I thought was familiar territory really opened my eyes and rejuvenated my sagging spirit. That little blonde sidekick made me realize that the world has more than one way to be viewed or perceived.
I feel like George Bailey in “It’s a Wonderful Life:” the richest man in town.
Thanks, Sal. Love you.
(*all images by the author)