Today started early and was always going to be a big day. This was the occasion for testing my leg to see if it would stand up to a trek on the Jutbula trail in August. Threw my backpack in the car and headed off to Balmoral at 6 AM. Still dark when I arrived at the beach. My handicap was 7′ 40″. Everyone attempted to Jimble-proof themselves with full length wet suits and rash vests. Really good hit out and I ended up coming third with the two people in front of me wearing wetsuits. Starting to feel stronger and stronger in the water every day. I don’t have the technique or the style to ever be a really good swimmer but it’s surprising how far you can get just on fitness and stamina. Anyway that’s all I’ve got to work with so I’ll make the most of it.
Everyone copped some Jimble stings. I felt one slide down my back and whack me in the middle of the race but thought I got off lightly. In the shower the hot water brought up the welts and I found I’d been stung all over the hands, feet and arms but they are not that potent this year although there certainly are a lot of them. Left Barry’s place at 830 to do the Mosman Headland walk. I had great trepidation as we left. The first challenge was the stairs going up from Balmoral Oval – about 200 of them. I used to run up these stairs for training and have often carried a 25kg pack up and down, taking the stairs two at a time. Not now. I sort of plodded up, pausing a few times for breath., quads burning. This type of accident does so much damage to muscles. I think the muscles are more profoundly damaged than the bones. Covered 10.8 km in three hours. My knee was really good with no pain but my Achilles tendon was very sore and it made my foot ache. The weight in the pack was about 10 kg which isn’t too bad as we only have to carry 17kgs.
Surprisingly tired when I arrived home and after shower and some lunch lay down at to 2 o’clock. Didn’t wake till 6pm. Apartment seems eerily empty with a lot of the furniture and rugs taken away by the cleaning company. Very bare. The two big industrial, drying fans had been on all day Friday and I left them on today while I was out. Everything dry now. Put the iTunes radio on and stumbled across a beautiful song Speed of the sound of loneliness by Nanci Griffith. She is from Austin, Texas and is only 6 months younger than me. She has an amazing voice. Another discovery on this journey where music has been such a constant source of support on these quiet and very lonely nights, with the ocean providing the melodic backdrop. American folk music seems a bottomless well of creativity- it has no boundaries and never ceases to amaze me at what it produces.
So if you are at home on a Saturday during rehab and the silence presses down on you, and you want to hear the sound of a human voice listen to Speed of the sound of loneliness, press here. This is a beautiful live version. It reminds me that though the USA has bat-shit crazy gun laws and they shoot each other’s children in the street and it proclaims itself the world’s shining beacon of democracy, where less than half the population votes, it can still produce music like this. Think John Prine, Emmylou Harris and now Nanci Griffith. She is also an example to all of us baby-boomers how someone can age gracefully, hit 60 and still be full of charisma and dignity. I hope the USA stays rampant forever. Music and singing like this won’t cure a broken leg but it will sure fix anything that’s wrong with your soul.