Growing up, I was never sporty. But I enjoyed hanging out in sporty circles, where my sporty sister’s suitors sometimes mistook for her. I was mostly a book nerd, and sometimes a floater in between high school social groups.
I eventually developed a decent amount interest in sport, and I still play tennis, badminton and Frisbee golf, among others. But it’s only when I hike long distances that I’m really in my element.
In summer 2015, I incurred a knee injury; a torn meniscus. You can attribute this to my enthusiasm in touch rugby, at a mature age. Up until then, I’ve never broken a bone or torn a muscle before, only minor sprains.
The injury took months to heal, age was a factor. In addition, the orthopaedist had advised against surgery. The strenuous work I was doing at the time made things worse. I was constantly on strong painkillers. In the end, I left the job.
I relied on crutches to walk, and it was simply painful to be this limited. But it was silence that was most acute. I felt so alone, even though my husband did everything in his power to support me and allay my fears. In the middle of the night, I would wake shaking and drenched in sweat. I had unreasonable nightmares.
The thought of never be able to hike and backpack in the wilderness again, made me afraid. This might sound trivial or dramatic. But I thought what would become of me, if I wasn’t able to write again. Because walking or hiking is my writing’s point of entry.