When I was six years old, I was learning to roller skate. We lived on a dead-end street on a small hill. I would skate up the street from the corner to my house, which was 3 houses up, and then I would walk back down in the grass. I was very afraid of falling on the concrete. And I did this for hours.
One day, the newspaper boy offered me a ride down the hill on his bike. Let me just say that I accepted, he did not drop me off at the corner like he said he would, and I had a very scary experience. Did it scar me emotionally? Yes. Did I quit roller skating? Why would I?
In my 20's, I could dance all night. I did dance all night, lots of nights. I traveled around Europe with nothing more than my younger sister and the few belongings that would fit in my backpack. We slept under the stars in the top of a tower of an abandoned castle one night, just the two of us. She played her harmonica, and I looked out over the surrounding forest, full of some aching nostalgia and feeling like we were in a storybook.
In my 30's, I traveled around Australia with my then husband. We flew in a little four seater plane to a scuba camp on a very small island. The tiny airstrip stretched from ocean's edge to ocean's edge. We slept in cots in small wooden cabins and ate fresh fruit and vegetables in what can only be called a mess hall. With a trained guide, we were able to scuba amongst the brilliantly colored coral, with 9 foot sharks just a few dozen yards away.
Hmm. There is no apparent point to number two, except to say that I am not dead yet. I keep travelling, I keep creating art, as best I can. If I can no longer do some of the things I used to do, I do new things instead. My crumbling back is a temporary situation. Let's face it - having a back at all is a temporary situation.
My rock pile of a spine, that paperboy, the sharks, the thousands of bees emerging from the woods when my sister and I came down in the dawn from that castle tower - they are just stories to share. Scary at the time, to be sure, but only fear can limit me, and I am not afraid of those things.