How do you visualize your future? Mine looks murky at the moment, in the sense that I have trouble visualizing it. For me, giving up control is the hardest part of surrendering to a surgeon. From past surgeries, I know that helpless feeling of being wheeled into the operating suite with nurses and doctors bustling all around me. At that moment, I'm putting my life in their hands, and I'm fully aware of it. Fortunately, the particular surgical team who will work on me in January earned my trust when they fused my lower back a few years ago. So, I'm focusing on that trust as I prepare for the big day, a bit more than three weeks from now.
K, who feels like an extension of my heart, clearly senses that I'm off kilter. For the past few days, whenever I look up, I find a pair of amber eyes softly following me. Words cannot express how much I love my K.
In these precious days, I'm making sure to spend time snow biking with K whenever the snow conditions allow it. So, K and I rolled out the door under steel gray skies this morning. The snowy mountains blended with the sky behind K in the photo below.
The cold air and packed trails made for fast riding and running. K ran atop at least a foot of snow in the photo below.
Then, just as she arrived at me, she used the universal dog 'calming' signal of flicking her tongue up over her nose. She was probably trying to say that, although she was barreling toward me like an out-of-control freight train, her intentions were peaceful.
When I rolled out solo after leaving K at home, I headed to my favorite ridge, deciding to follow a gorgeous route even if it was still snowbound. The beginning of the climb up to the ridge was the toughest part, with a snowy and rocky trail as my route. But, the gorgeous mountain in the background served as inspiration.
I managed to pedal about half the climb before my back wheel lost traction in the snow. A maze of elk tracks crossed my trail, leaving tangible evidence of the presence of these beautiful animals.
Even after I climbed off my bike and started pushing it, I felt like I could barely attain the top of this hill. For every step forward, my bike and I slid back a few inches. I trudged, clawed, and climbed toward the top. The path in front of me was starkly beautiful, pulling me upward.
At the top of this hill, the west-facing trail harbored no snow because the wind had scoured it clean. Moreover, the views awed me. They also reminded me of my fear of the future. After my last surgery, my docs recommended that I not return to downhill telemark skiing. So, although I gained a lot from that surgery, including pain-free bike riding, I also lost something forever.
Just before descending toward home, a massive mountain shimmered in the distance, like an apparition floating outside the dark glade where my soul resided.
As I halted to gaze at the view, I realized that the darkness surrounding me represented the terrifying unknown to me. The shimmering and surreal mountain in the distance represented my optimistic hopes for the future. I focused on the mountain.