I’ve been in a lot of pain lately. So much that it’s been hard to walk, to sit, to be in a car, to do anything but recline gently on my uncomfortable couch.
I had surgery almost two weeks ago. Almost immediately I felt things clear up. It was a joke, actually, because while the day of and the day immediately after seemed fine, I spent the following day trying not to throw up and ate, maybe, 11 saltine crackers all day.
But then I felt better.
So I went for a wander in the patch of woods I’ll be moving back to once there is something to live in.
And I went for a walk at the river where I live now.
It is remarkable, really, how much can change once a doctor is convinced to scrape the scar tissue and bleeding growths from your abdomen. I feel good now, despite the holes the disease has eaten through my peritoneum.
For a few weeks I was making some bad decisions despite knowing how they turn out. How they always turn out. I made myself sicker, put myself in positions to be hurt – because I wanted to feel nothing, or I wanted to feel a pain I could name.
And then: relative health again, and I can walk without discomfort, and I can be in the woods and not feel shadowed by the knowledge that things are bad – that bad is inevitable. It is the default.
It’s not. Not always. Or… it doesn’t need to be.
I’ve had a trying couple months that culminated (finally – the wait-and-see part of it all was kind of a killer) in a few very bad days. So I went for a walk.
A couple walks, I guess.
Sometimes I take Route 60 to get to Columbus through Zanesville and every time I do I stop here, sometimes only for a minute or two or long enough to just wander around for a bit. It’s nothing special, really – a small patch of clear land on the banks, the locks, the river barreling into itself. It’s just enough, though. You know what I mean.
A sample of the Very Good songs my shuffled playlist gave me:
Palace Brothers – (I Was Drunk at the) Pulpit
Joe Pug – I Do My Father’s Drugs
Loudon Wainwright III – Swimming Song
Townes Van Zandt – Tower Song
Nick Drake – Northern Sky