Saturday, June 22, 2019

Wandering around Wellfleet, 'enjoying' a little fall

I was skeptical about riding the little Birdy folding bike,which looks like it is better suited to a circus than to a road. With its long neck, it brings to mind an ostrich. But riding it in Wellfleet, I was pleasantly surprised at the smooth ride and how much easier it was to go up a hill on it than it is on my regular bike.

Uncle Tim's Bridge

I haven’t ridden a bike since the fall, and I only went to spinning a couple of times, so I wasn't sure how I would do. Not that I wasn’t out of breath going up hills, but it was easier than I expected. I knew the center of gravity was different than on my bike so I didn’t want to let loose going down hills. Next time I’ll be a little less cautious so that I can get the benefit of that feeling of flying. But I didn’t want to fly over the handlebars.

We rode for about an hour. At the end when we got to the dirt road leading to the Airbnb, I figured I should get off and walk. But before I had a chance to do it, I got caught up in a vine reaching out from the bushes. I toppled backwards onto a cushion of vinca. The bike fell the other way. It was such a short distance, and the landing so soft, that I sat there and laughed. Later, I told Katie that the vine had grabbed me and pulled me in.

Birdy biker
With effort, I pulled the bike up and held onto it while I pulled myself up. There were just a few pinpricks of blood on my shin. I walked down to the car, where Jeff was putting the other bike away. He said when he looked back, I seemed to have disappeared! We agreed that it was a step up from last year, when my heavier bike fell on me and I needed 12 stitches. I’m making progress, from stitches to a dribble of blood. He said it would be nice to have a bike ride with no accident at all. I had been so careful during the riding part and had gone and had a mini-accident when I wasn’t even riding.

My first reaction was to want to call my friend Patricia, aka PJ. We always
Vine sticking out and site of topple
enjoyed comparing our falls. We made each other laugh. Mostly talking to myself, I said how how it was hard to understand what had happened. One day we were comparing notes about our similar lives, our diagnoses of acute myeloid leukemia, our multiple bone marrow transplants, and the next day she was dying.

I’m not sure when they stopped using bone marrow transplant and started saying stem cell transplant. They are the same thing. When I had mine, I was a “BMT” patient. It sounded like a subway line. Probably because in the older days, they got the stem cells directly from the bone marrow and now they get them peripherally, out of the blood stream.

On our first day in Wellfleet, when we went down to the beach, I did a walk/jog along the water and  pondered the difference between the way I see the world now as compared to the four times that I was a baby, after each stem cell transplant. 

The misty day lent itself to introspection. I went up ahead and wrote in the notes section of my phone. When I read it later I was going to edit it because it seemed a little overblown. But I let it be, because it captured a moment.

Trying to recapture the gift of reentering the world after stem cell transplant and seeing everything as though it’s new such as the water lapping at my feet as I walk along the Atlantic Ocean.

It’s like the joy of a child , for that is what I was. I can’t go back nor do I want to but I can try to stop the mental chatter that runs in circles around unanswerable questions or flits around the edges of the mundane. Should I work on my essay, should I write a blog post, should I answer emails, should I wear contacts to the wedding.... Switch.

Like you tell your doubles partner only you’re telling yourself. Paw prints and footsteps in the sand. Waves cresting. Waves crashing. Tide coming in. My beach speed is in between a jog and a walk. I could go a long ways but behind me I seem to have lost my friend in the fog. Sit down to wait. Don’t want to be like Scarlet shouting Ashley, Ashley, through the mist. Trying to think of words to describe the smell down at the beach. Something you wish you could bottle. Brackish.

We did one of my favorite walks, over Uncle Tim's Bridge and the "bench book" where visitors write how much they love the peaceful spot.

Yesterday when walking around Provincetown in intermittent rain, we stopped into the Provincetown Library to see what was with all the talk about the boat in the library. I didn't expect it to be such a big boat. The half-scale model of the schooner Rose Dorothea has a 66’6″ length and a 12’6″ beam and takes up a good part of the second floor. I almost forgot to mention one of the important things, which was getting a good, strong, cup of coffee after lunch, and taking it to the library.

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