At exactly one point three-three miles into my workout, according to my GPS app, I kicked a freakin’ root. I wasn’t paying attention to the rock and root strewed path…I was paying attention to a half-dozen Canadian geese who were stopping by from…Canada? When they landed I watched and tripped over the root banging my arthritic toe. The geese didn’t stay long, instead, they took off to another part of the lake. It might have been the loud cursing erupting from my mouth.
As I hobbled on and gazed heavenward contemplating my pain and the distance my expletives might have traveled heavenward, I kicked another root. Same foot, same big toe…the big toe I’m trying put off surgery on until winter comes around again and I am worthless…ah, more worthless.
The second kick was even more solid than the first. Mortar Forker! This time I bent over, hands on knees, in agony and stood still, waiting for the pain exploding from my toe to ebb along with the tears the pain had brought. I’m still waiting…sorta. The neurons responsible for pain have abated from the torrent exiting through the top of my head to a trickle of electrical charges radiating outward and surrounding my forefoot. Four hours later, the pain is still there letting me know…it is still there!
Did I mention, it’s cold. Late March, less than a week from Easter. A moist, northeastern wind makes it seem colder…not tongue stuck to a flagpole cold but it’s not helping the throbbing in my toe or the way I’m reacting to it. No, I am not going to put an ice pack on it. I just shivered.
Earlier in the story, just after I had kicked the second root, I finally straightened up and again looked heavenward. I found myself peering, jaw slack and agape, at a hornet’s nest the size of a medium watermelon less than three feet from my face. You might guess where this is going and it ain’t a good trip.
Despite knowing it was too cold for hornets, I backed up quickly…tripping over the initial root I had banged my toe on. This time I went down hard on my butt, jarring my teeth, and decided to stay there. As I sat, I contemplated…how badly was I injured and “Help I’ve Fallen, and I Can’t Get Up!” briefly ran through my mind.
Mainly, I contemplated, how had the nest survived the winter and how had I not seen it? What? I’ve walked this trail a hundred times since last spring…why am I just now seeing this thing? It’s hugeeeeeee!
I pondered on the pain the little suckers could have wreaked…and the providence that kept them from causing pain to me or the hundreds of kids attending the camp at Lookup Lodge. Maybe I should have paid more attention to the name of the camp instead of looking down at my feet…then that hadn’t worked out well when I watched the geese. My thoughts didn’t help the pain in my foot but did take me down a pig trail memory.
On a very cool, late fall day during my early teaching career, I was startled when an entire class exited their room as if the devil himself were after them. Kids yelling and screaming, slapping at themselves and each other. Seems a “Little Johnny” had found a hornet’s nest and brought it to school for show and tell. Probably should have waited until the hornets died. As the room heated up so did they. Ouch. Some students were treated for stings, others for bruises caused by over exuberant classmates. I laughed and laughed and laughed…until my toe reminded me of why I was sitting on my butt having the memory. Fother Muck!
Image from http://goalorientedrunner.blogspot.com/2017/02/blog-post.html
For more of ravings from a mad Southerner https://www.amazon.com/Don-Miller/e/B018IT38GM