Hobbled

        I am finally recovering from my cabinet-jumping, foot-breaking accident a few weeks ago.  For a while it
was difficult to determine where the break actually was as everything hurt. The
whole foot has been swollen and bruises bloomed and faded. There is a lump at
the center of the ball of my right foot. 
It’s tender there and at the same place on the top. It’s obvious now
that the fourth toe is the injured one. The others taper again, as toes should,
from their cushioned pads to their thinner tethers.  The fourth is puffy with its pain.
        I am back to
reading on the porch, which for the last few weeks has been too hot, too
sticky, too buggy.  Now our weather is cool in the morning and we are reminded, the hundred degree heat hopefully behind us, that we Midwesterners do love the distinctness of our seasons. Soon we will have fall.  This week I whisked
the crumbs of the squirrels’ breakfasts from the cushions – they will have an
easy winter as the walnut tree has been generous – and wiped the dust from the
table where I prop my foot, to which I am both apologetic and resentful.
        I’ve made few accommodations to my foot, treating it like a deadbeat relative
who has stayed too long.  I convinced myself that yoga is important for the greater good of mind, soul and backside and ignored the possibility that my short-term vanity will have long-term repercussions. I acknowledge only in passing that the duck-footed limp may remain.  
        I have, however, stopped walking the dogs.  We still stroll in the evening and it
placates them, but we all miss the brisk pace and the long strides of our
morning walks. Still, I can’t.  It’s not
wisdom or taking care. Very simply, it hurts too much. So they sit with me on the
porch in the new cool of the morning and read the paper and watch the squirrels
a little more carefully instead.
        For
the last few days we have been an audience to the routine of a small black cat
in our neighborhood. She is completely black, her gleaming coat unblemished by
blaze or socks.  At first, I thought she
was a half-grown kitten, but a year and a half later she is the same size. She
is the Audrey Hepburn of cats.
        We
know one another in passing, though I don’t know where she lives.  I see her up and down the block, but not only in one spot and never off
of it. She darts under bushes as I walk by with my beasts. While I admire her sleek, youthful looks, I silently curse her; I
believe she is the one who tears the bottom of my trash bag each week, though I
don’t know it for sure, so I never say anything to her about it.
        I’ve
seen her hunting the last few days. Saturday she came down the driveway of the
house across the street.  As she emerged
from behind the hedge I could see that she had something her mouth.  It was small and pale and I wondered if
someone’s pet had met a tragic end.  Then
I assumed it was probably a young rabbit. 
Her head high, she moved with a quick clip, not hurrying, but
purposeful.  She reminded me of myself in
my first grown up job.  My new suits and high
heels added to a preening gait through the corridors of a place that made me
think I’d really done something to get there. 
I watched the cat travel through two yards and disappear behind a house
that may or may not be hers. I wondered if she’d eat the bunny or simply let it
go as I did the job that I’d been so proud to catch.
        Yesterday, she
came from behind the same house with the some unsquirming something about the
size of my fist held firmly in her teeth. 
It might have been a rather hefty chipmunk, which, too, had been
feasting on walnuts for his now-unrealized winter plans. Though he was larger
than her head, she had no trouble holding him. 
Was he dead, I wondered, or playing along while he planned his escape? She
leapt a short brick wall and carried him around back for breakfast or mercy;
only the two of them know for sure.
        I
watch her, but she is, I think, ignorant of me here on the porch, hobbled,
envying the ease of her escapades.
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9 thoughts on “Hobbled

  1. Patricia, thinking of you and hoping you continue to recover well…you are so right to take it slowly, (which I know is difficult for you!)
    Amazing how much we can observe the stiller we are though!!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    Featuring India Hicks!

  2. I feel your pain, having had broken bones in both feet in the past. Not being able to get on with your life because of foot pain is one of the most frustrating things in the world, isn't it?

    Soak in Epsom Salts, ice, stay off it as much as possible. It will heal faster.

  3. Oh my gosh, does this bring back some awful memories.

    I had been out picking wild blackberries, oblvious to what might have been at my feet as I reached for the highest, plump-est berries. That night the right foot was an angry-looking red, swollen, the skin taut. My husband cut off the top of an old pair of tennis shoes to avoid any barefoot tragedies to my foot. I swear I could feel my pulse as that foot throbbed and the only relief I could get was to elevate it—-by throwing my leg over the back of the sofa. He finally insisted that I at least get it x-rayed. The nurse in ER thought the second toe might be broken but indicated there was nothing to be done but "baby it for a while". Nevertheless I was sent to radiology to confirm no broken bones.

    It eventually healed but, to this day, I have no idea the cause. Insect bite? Like you, hobbled and it's something you never forget. As difficult as it is, "baby yourself".

  4. Hi Patricia, Thank you for these tone-poen musings. Makes me more mindful of my own recovery from hip surgery…I'm forgetting to pay attention to the blessings of it all. Hope that your orthopaedic guy is good and that you are being a good patient. Blessings for a super quick recovery and back to really walking those beasties. (Jones wants to go to the park soooooooooo badly, but he will have to wait a bit longer).
    xoxo Mary

  5. I hope your recovery is speedy, or as speedy as you wish. There is something to be said for quiet mornings on the porch. If you were running about as life has a way of requiring, you might not have noticed the escapades of your little hunter friend!

  6. Hoping your foot heals quickly and with no lingering reminders! Love your observations while being still. We all need to be still now and then.

  7. I have had a C-section and I have had foot surgery. Nothing compares to the foot pain! I will never wear heels again. My podiatrist call them job security.After you have healed, you may find some of your old shoes will not fit. Don't force it, even for beauty. Trust me: wide toe box may not be sexy but it doesn't hurt. In the mean time elevate that foot and ice (no more than 30 minutes at a time). It really does help.

    ps My father had a long disability before he died, his kitchen table became his "office", the center of his backyard observations. For almost 20 years he would call me with a story, an observation, a tally of which critter had died, terrifying battles of bird dominance, the great physical dexterity of "his" squirrels, the wiliness of nocturnal animals. I miss those tales. Slowing down to observe in microcosm almost always brings laughter and more than a little wisdom.

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