As most of my gentlereaders know I was seriously injured in an accident about a month ago – resulting in a badly broken shoulder and surgery – as well as other consequences we won’t go into now. From the first time I saw the surgeon – three weeks after surgery – I was trying to get permission to drive (didn’t get it) and work out (didn’t get that either).
I recently had the good fortune to get permission to drive on any day I am not wearing a sling or taking anything stronger than Tylenol. Need I say that the sling is gone as are the stronger painkillers? I am still not allowed to “work out.”
This morning, on a lonely road in New Hampshire, I was riding along (alone) in my automobile when I started feeling rhythmic bumps and thumps that seemed to be emanating from the front of the car. Not really being able to hear what the noise was associated with it I pulled off the road and spent some time examining the tires to make sure I had not picked up a bolt or other large object. Nope. Back in the car, the bumps and thumps continued. By this time I’m feeling unnerved. Is it a wheel bearing? Master cylinder? Loose strut? Shock? I’m driving very slowly in case the car breaks down. Finally, I turned the car onto a different road and suddenly it is fine. Clearly, I was experiencing pavement problems. I’ve never had that happen for miles on end.
It got me to wondering. If I could hear the sounds associated with different problems, would I have recognized it was not a tire, not a bearing, not a strut? I mean, mechanics ask me what sound the car is making if I bring it in for service and mostly all I can describe is the feeling I get when I’m driving it. How do I know what it sounds like? The first time I ever really heard the motor I thought it was going to fall out of the car or something.
Later today my daughter, her husband, and son decided to go for a hike. I said, “Me too!” and my daughter inquired as to whether I was permitted to walk. “Yes!” I had permission to walk – the right half of my upper half may be broken, but the other bits and bobs are working as well as they did before.
I put on my cross-trainers (good for anything from aerobics to weight training – certainly good for hiking, right?), got out my walking poles with the nice pointy tips on them and we piled into the car to head to the hiking trails. The kids learned something new – there is a calorie free/carb free version of Powerade Zero to be had at the store. And I got to walk. (Big cheesy grin)
We went to Willard Brook State Forest and started out on the Friends Trail, then veered off on a Yellow trail. I’d guess we walked about a mile or more before we headed back. The trail was sometimes broad and flat, sometimes rather steep and narrow, filled with standing water, rocks, and even a couple of fallen trees. I never slipped, tripped or stumbled even once and never needed to depend on the walking poles. I’m very sure footed except on extremely slick surfaces – where almost anyone will have a problem – or if I am tangled up by wires or ropes.
I had a blast. My grandson and I often outpaced the grownups (I guess this means I am not a grownup). I could have gone twice as far, but I suppose it is good to start slowly. My only gripe is that it costs $5 to park and who can pay THAT every day? I’d like to go back, but I need to find a way to get in without paying that amount of money.
I saw movement by the trail and pointed out a tiny brown toad – probably not the size of a quarter – to my grandson and daughter. I’m good at seeing things. Hearing? Meh.
All the time we were there I kept hearing rushing water, like a waterfall. Finally I asked my son-in-law where the rushing water was. He told me it was the wind in the leaves of the trees. There was wind overhead but not much near the ground – more is the pity, as there were lots of gnats. Again I wondered what the difference is between the rushing of wind through the leaves of the trees and a distant waterfall. I guess I will never know.
Often I hear a sound and guess at what it could be. Sometimes I’m right. Sometimes I’m wrong. Environmental noises are sometimes really tough. I visited my friend, Domi, yesterday and I kept hearing little noises that sounded like the bubbling mud pots of Yellowstone as I remember them. It was her dishwasher.