I’ve been making a point of walking every day. Partly for rehab (I want to walk without limping), and partly just because it’s a physical activity that I’m able to do. There’s only so much trainer-riding that I can take.
Tired of walking in the neighborhood, I walked on the bridle trail from the Metroparks Polo Field.
I’d forgotten how many people go there to run. It was an unpleasant sensation to be walking along and having all these people running past me. When I would run on that trail, which I’ve done many times, I’d the the one doing the passing.
I then had the thought: “what if” … this was as good as it gets? What if it turned out that I could never run or ride or do any kind of really vigorous activity? Not saying that is the likely outcome here, but for some people it is. You get hurt or sick, and then all of a sudden you can’t do what you were able to previously. It’s a depressing thought, and one that we don’t like to think about.
Throughout this ordeal though I’ve come to see that your circumstances can change in the millisecond that it takes for your tires to slide out, or for the other driver to run the red light, or any number of other things.
That’s not a profound revelation. We’ve all heard it before, and understand it intellectually. But do we really face it and accept it? It’s not just wrecking on a bike and getting hurt, it’s also that we will get old and sick, and our bodies eventually won’t do what want them to do.
Walking along the trail, I recalled all the stuff I’ve read over the years about Buddhism and eastern philosophy. It occurred to me that here was my lesson on impermanence and suffering. It seems very real now.
There’s no real comfort in that thought … and I think that is the point.