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.