The sun is shining outside in the true Melbourne autumn way. That means blue skies, perfect temperatures and a light breeze off the bay. It is the sort of day that recharges everything, and I’m feeling content right now. So I thought I’d share a few of the beautiful moments that life has created for me recently…
– Just now, I took our lovely Leila (our four-month old rescue Labrador) for a walk around the block. She was a bit tired from a great play at the beach this morning, where she had her first real socializing with other dogs. Around the block, for the first time, she walked next to me on a loose lease, stopping to sniff now and then, not pulling, not dragging me behind her. It was such a contrast to our drag-and-tow walk on Sunday, from which my hands are still healing. It was a magical twenty minutes with my first ever dog, and as I type this, she wanders in, contentedly licks my hand, and wanders out again.
– On Friday last week, I took a friend for a run in Sherbrooke Forest. That sounds simple enough, but for me it was an epic journey. I didn’t want to admit it to her, but I’d never driven to Belgrave alone, and was terrified. Even finding the train station to pick her up was a big deal, as I was navigating alone and the signs were not good.
But I found her, drove her up the long, scary, single lane road, and found my way to Grant’s Picnic Area. I’d been wanting to drive here for a year, but chickened out each time, going back to Mount Dandenong because I knew the way. I led her on a 7.5k loop through tall gum trees, pointing out Lyrebirds and Kookaburras, Wallabies, Rosellas and Magpies. Afterwards I drove us to Olinda for lunch down small roads I had never traveled.
The drive home took us down a twisty, turny, single-lane road. If I’d been alone, I probably would have pulled over to still my shaking hands, but with her, I kept going, and drove us the hour home, finding the way without help.
Stepping beyond my comfort zones is never, well, comfortable, but once my territory is expanded, I have found it never shrinks back to the same size again. So I’m grateful to her in so many ways, because now Sherbrooke Forest is mine too. I know I can drive there without such great fear, and this opens the door.
– The same friend, it turned out, is an accomplished pianist. She came home with me, and I asked her to show me something on the piece that had stalled me in my forward progress. She pointed out that “both hands played in the Bass Clef”, and I knew just what she meant, and suddenly the mystery became clear and I could play the piece and move forward again. I’ve only been playing for three months, teaching myself from children’s books, so each step forward is a small miracle.
– Yesterday, I went to train in the free weights area at the gym. These two gigantic young men were training there too. Next to them, someone had set up the squat rack with 60 kg of plates. I asked them if they were using it. They said no, but would not meet my eye, and I felt suddenly invisible. One of them pointed out to me that there was a water bottle near the rack, so someone must be using it. Go away, he was saying, some big guy like me is using that squat rack. You’re too old and female to work out here next to us big blokes. I looked around the room. There was one elderly gentlemen, the two men I had spoken to, and one woman with a trainer. No one was using that squat rack, and so I proceeded to unload it and use it, while the two muscle-men alternated between pretending I didn’t exist, and scowling at me. No one came back to the rack, and I felt, somehow, that I had forced a space for us women in the free weights area that had not been there before I arrived. Later, one of the men came and asked me to use a grip on a machine I’d just finished with. This time, he met my eye, and I was no longer invisible.
So, three great things. On this glorious blue-sky day, the world is seeming a whole lot brighter than it did a few weeks ago.
Oh, and the Roller Coaster Run is about ten days away. I’ve dropped back to the 21km option, and I’m thrilled I’m going to get to do this wonderful race that had seemed out of reach when I was injured back in January.
Wishing you a day of blue skies and sunshine…