The Entry Point

Growing up, I was never sporty. But I enjoyed hanging out in sporty circles, where my sporty sister’s suitors sometimes mistaken me 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. And the strenuous work I was doing at the time made things worse, I was constantly on strong painkillers. In the end, I left.

It was painful to be limited as I was on crutches. 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. I would wake in the middle of the night shaking and drenched in sweat. I had unreasonable nightmares.

I was afraid that I’ll never be able to hike and backpack in the wilderness again. This might sound trivial or dramatic. But I thought what would become of me, if I’m not able to write again. Because walking/hiking is my writing’s point of entry.

So, this is how this poem (I wrote for my husband, almost five years ago) came about. And it’s own point of entry was pain.

Khaya Ronkainen
Khaya Ronkainen is a writer, poet and blogger. Her blog focuses on poetry and creative nonfiction, and also features poets and their books.

50 Comments

  1. Enjoyed.your lovely moon poem, thanks for adding the link. Happy Sunday

    Much❤love

  2. Oh I still think of that moon poem. It was so lovely. Thank you for sharing the story behind it. I know if I felt like might not be able to do something I really loved, it’d hurt me too (here’s hoping my knees will last as long as my tea sensei’s from Japan). But it looks like there is a lot of love in your life to inspire you, which is a wonderful thing. 🙂

  3. Greetings, “I left” means you left Touch Rugby? So this was a club for adults? I ask as I’m not familiar with the activity as a formalised sport.

    I enjoyed reading about your personal life, although I don’t know why I am so curious about you.
    x

  4. Oh! I remember your moon poem and recall reading it (I just went to read again) I had no idea its own point of entry was pain 😮 I am so sorry to hear about your knee injury and that you had to endure so much.. fortunately it was a long time ago.. I resonate with feeling anxious about losing one’s writing point of entry and hope you never have to face any trouble 💝💝

  5. Hi Pale, thanks for reading. “Left” means I left the job I was doing at the time. I couldn’t continue. Also because even though I had negotiated with the boss to do less strenuous activities while my knee was healing, she didn’t seem to care much. I guess she had her own staffing issues to deal with. This meant if someone who can perform the same duties was absent, tough luck I had to rise to the challenge.

    And yes, you are correct touch rugby is no a formalized sport here in Finland, I’m not sure of its status in South Africa. Nonetheless, we play it here (Finland) with my family and friends in the same age group, for fun and to keep fit. We have our own informal teams. 😀

    I’m glad to hear you enjoy catching a glimpse of my personal life. As for your curiosity, I’ve had people suggest I write a memoir. I. am. resisting. it. I’m not ready. So, the snippets will do for now. 🙂

  6. You’re welcome, Rommy and thank you for understanding. You’re correct, there’s lot of love in my life, and it’s something I don’t take for granted. Here’s to wishing your knees last as long and that you continue to enjoy your Japanese tea ceremonies. 🙂

  7. I hear you, Björn. I feel the same too. Luckily, my knee did heal fully. I enjoy use of both my legs and still going trekking in the Finnish wilderness. And here’s to hope our paths will cross someday.

    Enjoy skiing, if you have snow on your side. We’ve been experiencing a beautiful springlike weather here, in the past week. But it’s snowing again today, and we are now back in the depths of winter…urgh! I’m looking forward to spring already.

  8. I’m super glad you went to read the poem again. I wonder does the meaning change now that you know the backstory! Well, with enduring pain, I believe even the bad experience can be a blessing. We, of course, don’t always feel blessed at the time. Thank you dear Sanaa for reading. <3

  9. A heartfelt write. I can relate to you having an entry to your writing. A scary thought- not be able to write. The moon poem is sublime! I bet hubby cried😊

  10. That is a beautiful poem, Khaya! Yes, that type of injury can take a while to fully heal. I am glad you are back to doing what you love.

  11. It’s a scary thought indeed not being able to write again. But I guess one can be forced to find another entry point, who knows if might be even better than the present one. And I’d say yes hubby was immensely touched. 🙂 Thanks Viv for reading.

  12. Lovely to see you here, Lavinia. Yes the injury took long to heal, and taught me a thing or two about things we take for granted. Thank you for your continued support.

  13. I loved the tender love poem … and the story behind it as well!

  14. Losing (or almost losing) something we love to do to injuring is never trivial. I had to stop running some years ago, and I still miss it–I used to get my best ideas while pounding dirt. These days, I get my best ideas while pounding canvas (on my trampoline). Still, I continue to miss running… I also wonder what life would be like if I lost all ways to stir my ink. It’s not a pretty thought.

  15. I’m glad you shared the story. Interesting and thought-provoking (in a good way) in itself, and also it makes your lovely poem even more meaningful.

  16. An interesting read, khay. Been there, done that. Mine was torn on both sides. A double trim and I was ready for walking all over Europe. Ten years later i had the knee joint replaced.
    ..

  17. Many years ago I was a long distance runner and tthoroughly enjoyed it but now in my retirement years I have to accept it was foolish of me to do this well into my forties as I was over 6 foot tall. Now I can’t walk without a stick and have to admit I made a bad choice all those years past

  18. I remember reading that poem… am glad that pain is behind you now! That’s an interesting reference you make about the entry point for a poem… and poet… pain and wilderness… I need to think about that more in my own case.

  19. Well told. I really related to the prose piece as the arthritis in my back marches on. And your poem is lovely.

  20. It’s not a pretty thought, indeed loosing ways to stir the ink. Actually, after I had written this piece, I realised that sometimes one is forced to abandon what they love due to injury, illness, etc. But then again, there are always alternatives even if they don’t immediately bring about the same association.

    I’m actually glad you found solace in pounding the trampoline. I think it’s actually more fun than running. And I’m now referring to the images you shared, in the past, of you on the trampoline. 😀 You really looked like you were enjoying it. So, yes not all is lost in the end.

  21. Ouch! I got all sore from just thinking about the knee joint replacement. That said I know how great comfort a replacement brings to those who underwent the surgery. Also there’s a wide range of suitable activities to enjoy. Keep on walking, it’s one of the simplest joys. 🙂

  22. Oh, I don’t think it was foolish at all, Robin. As they say, age is a state of mind. If you enjoyed running, why stop if the body is still fit to do so!

  23. Khaya, what a story behind the poem … the heartache, fear and love intertwined! I’m so happy your knee is healed and you could return to hiking but it must have been an overwhelming sense of terror to lose not only being part of nature, but the entry point to your writing.

    Although my walks are not hikes, I still find walking key to writing, to putting my thoughts in gear, or more often to stop thinking altogether and find the story, words fall into place. Ten years ago I suffered from agonising two slipped discs and could barely hobble to the car and back. It was heartbreaking to see my young son out with everyone else on long walks, adventures and I had to sit and wait … luckily it got much better and I am now just a bit more careful and mostly painfree.

    Here’s to writing inspired by the outdoors, to us blending our minds and souls with the wonder of nature, finding ourselves and our work!😀❤️

  24. Yes it’s a bit of ponder- to poetry in general, to a particular poem. Was thinking of various poems, ended up posting one that I knew exactly what the entry point was !!

  25. …poetry comes from all angles – pain and recovery is one. (let’s hope you have graduated to recovery)

  26. It is a scary place to be, Annika. I’m really glad to hear that you recovered fully from your slipped discs. And I can relate to being more careful, even though you are mostly pain free.

    Actually before that knee injury, I took this walking and hiking for granted. And I wasn’t aware how intertwined it is with my writing. When I read Haruki Murakami’s memoir, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, I had an “aha! moment” it all made sense. And the more I read about other writers’ writing rituals, the more I find that a simple walk outdoors seems to do wonders for writing.

    And so, I raise my glass too to writing inspired by the outdoors! 😀 <3

  27. It is a thing to ponder, for writing in general. Because it’s said to help “cultivate awareness in our writing life”, and this I find insightful more so for poetry and songs. Because both can sound or seem romantic but aren’t as clear cut. Anyway, I think the point of entry makes for a great conversation. Have fun with your ponder!

  28. Thanks for sharing this. It is very tough to not be able to do the activities we once enjoyed. Thanks also for the RV. Please drop me a note so I may contact you.

  29. I am not sporty and never will be. I never liked sports in school and pray why should I take it up now in my middle age? 🙂 So sorry for your injury my dear sis. A beautiful poetry, straight from the heart. Of course he will go to the moon and beyond for you and with you. 🙂

    Stay safe my sis. 🙂

  30. LOL! “…pray why should I take it up now in my middle age?” That’s how a sensible person thinks and functions. 😀 😀

    Thanks dear Celestine, and that injury was years ago and have since fully recovered. And guess what? I’m still playing, cautiously. 🙂

  31. WoW!!
    I went back to “The Moon” and boy oh boy, I am so happy I did!
    I learned something so valuable today about poetry – a lesson long overdue and thanks to you a lesson learned – or in the beginning of learning!
    COOL!!
    😁😁😁

  32. That means a LOT to me. Many thanks for rereading. More especially, I’m super happy you found something of value. Thank you!

  33. I will always find value when I visit your writing – and always the reminder that we hail from the same valley… give or take a few hundred kilometres!! 😁😁

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