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BlueWolf's Howl

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August 23, 2005

Learning to learn

Start having a great life...start living with inspiration...

I ran my treadmill into the ground. Well...not really into the ground, but the tread isn't rolling like it used to - and I have no idea how to fix it. [Hopefully I'll get Joel over to take a look at it before the snow hits...] So without my beloved treadmill, I had to do something.

I bought a pair of inline roller skates. No, I don't know how to rollerblade. Well, I didn't at first. I've ice skated before. I used to skate every winter as a kid. As an adult, I've been on skates sporadically. And now I have inline skates.
[Boys' size 5.]

I went to New Bedford to try them out. There's a beautiful area by the beach that has a view of 3 lighthouses! I was smart enough to cross the road with the skates in my hand. I sat and put them on. I got up - I fell down. Dang. One skinned knee. At least I wasn't moving when the knee hit the ground. I got up. I started moving my legs forward. How the heck am I going to just learn out of thin air?

Then I started to think of Spencer. Hmmm... how does he learn to do all this stuff? I remember when he got his snorkel. There was no one to teach him. But he learned. He taught himself. I remembered how he taught himself many things... keyboard, snorkeling, and mountains of video games.

He just did it. He didn't expect to do it perfectly. He didn't expect to do it 'right'...he just tried it. And then he would do it over and over and over and over. And what worked he kept. What didn't he discarded. Wow.

A lightbulb went on in my head that was so bright, the Butler Flats lighthouse blushed. Okay...so, not really...but it was an insight.

I started moving my feet forward. I went a few steps. I wobbled. My left foot turned out. I turned it back in. I held onto the cement wall along the walkway. And I kept moving forward. I knew my left leg was weaker than my right. But I knew that if I kept trying, the leg would build up to the task. It was pretty obvious that I was new at this. There were a number of cars that went by and honked. One guy yelled out the window "you go, girl"... It was very encouraging. I met quite a few people who smiled and cheered me on as they walked past. It kept me motivated. I made it all the way to the flag pole and back - twice. I would hate to admit how long it took me to do that. Just know that it took quite some time. Then I took off the skates and walked the same path to stretch my legs out. I knew I'd be sore the next day, but hoped that the walk would lessen the effect. [It worked.]

The next day I was invited to the Cape. Barbara and I skated down the bike path while Joel kayaked down the river. Barbara knows how to skate. She made it look so effortless. She pushed her daughter in a sidecar while I struggled to stay on my feet. I was going so slowly that Amelia started to fidget. Barbara went a little faster and Amelia started to settle down. So while I struggled down the path, Barbara went back and forth (doing circles around me). Okay. So she has been skating much longer than I have... She helped with a lot of pointers that my body was too tired to implement. But I tucked those ideas away for a fresher time. We went 600 miles. Well...it felt like 600 miles. I actually have no idea how far we went.

The bike path was much harder to skate. Part of the pavement was cracked from the tree roots growing beneath it. I stumbled along those parts. I kept going (read: tried to catch up to Barbara). Eventually I ran across a .5 marker on the path. Wow...I made it a half mile. Barbara was still far ahead. As I continued, I found the next marker -- .25 Apparently the bike path is a geographical oddity where mileage sometimes goes backward. Hence, we have no idea how far we went that day. [It was probably 600 miles.]

Joel returned to shore and we drove up to meet him. Next thing I know, I'm in a kayak paddling upstream. That was sooooo cool. Once again, I just tried it. I haven't been in a boat since my childhood days (summer camp). But, like riding a bike, much of the knowledge came rushing back as I continued along. It was wonderful.

And this evening I returned to New Bedford to rollerblade. I noticed quite a bit of improvement. I actually rolled along much further before stopping. My back stayed upright. My left foot stayed upright. I still wobbled occassionally. And for some reason my legs think that part of skating involves something to do with a split... And I made it to the flagpole in no time. Dang. I forgot to clock it. On my next spin to the pole, I noted the time. 3 minutes! I had no idea how far it was, but it only took 3 min to that point. I skated back. Yup...I didn't misread the clock. 6 min round trip!

I started to really get the hang of it. I'm not 'good' at it yet, but I'm getting there. I must not have looked so pitiful this time. The only shout out from the cars passing by was some young guy saying something like 'you can't skate'... It didn't bother me. Little did he know - that was a good sign. Had he seen me the first time, they probably would have pulled over to watch and place bets on when I'd fall...

And after the THREE round trips to the flag pole, I took another trip on foot. Then I got in my car to measure the distance. It's .25 to the flag pole. I continued on that road and found the .5 marker. Tomorrow's goal is to double the path. Rollerblading - it's a wonderful thing...

Posted by BlueWolf on August 23, 2005 09:33 PM