Daily Post: Beach, mountain, forest or somewhere else entirely?


In response to a daily post challenge:

“I want to go to the ocean, and stick my feet in the water, remember I’m part of something bigger than what I see right now.” Beach, hands down. I love the mountains and being in a forest but being near the ocean is healing for me. I love the sights, the sounds, the smells and the ideas of what lies beneath.

Looking out over the water and seeing ships in the distance, looking up and down the beach seeing the crowds of people or, at my favorite beaches, seeing nothing but dunes and shore life.   I close my eyes; I can hear the waves of course, keeping rhythm in a hypnotic way, the seabirds laughing in joy, the wind blowing past my ears. I really love the smells of the ocean, salt air, vendors, and sunscreen.

Some of my best memories were made at the ocean. I have had the great fortune of playing in both coastal bodies of water. I have also dipped toes in the Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea, The Kattegat and the Skagerrak. At the northern tip of Denmark, The Kattegat and the Skagerrak crash into each other making huge water haystacks, changing the way I look at oceans and seas forever. Two mighty forces fighting over turf.

Body surfing in the Pacific, which surprised me with its coldness, has waves much bigger than the ones I remember from the Atlantic as I was growing up. The coastline is so strikingly different too. I never thought I would love an ocean more than the Atlantic but with each new body of water I meet, I realize, with oceans, I am undeniably polyamorous. I want to live by them all!

Now, as to the other two, I thoroughly enjoy the mountains and can really relax walking through the woods. I went to college in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. To the west, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and to the East, The Shenandoah Mountains. I would often drive either direction just to be in the mountains. One of the things I genuinely miss living here in Milwaukee is looking at the horizon and seeing mountains. When I first moved here, I was amazed at how far away the horizon actually was. The argument that the world is flat truly could reemerge here. Thank goodness there are decent forests here…and a great lake which the natives think is as big as an ocean, but I know if I squint hard enough on a clear day, I could probably see Michigan.

So I am in the middle of the country, 892 miles from the Atlantic and 2187 miles from the Pacific Ocean. I get homesick often. I want to go to the ocean. I guess I’ll settle for a walk by the lake.

angry lake
angry lake

Introduction to the world.


 

I want to be a better writer now that I have been having some fun with blogging for about a year. I am in this sort of contest “Blogging 101” which provides assignments, critiques and feedback as well as exposure to other good writers.

So, first assignment: “Introduce yourself to the world.”

My name is Kim and I am a Badass. Self-proclaimed but also anointed.   I am a motorcyclist, musician, teacher, dog-owner, skateboarder, ice hockey player and stroke survivor. The stroke survival is a process but it contributes greatly to my badassness. I have always been an active person and had, in fact, just finished a weekend-long tournament in northern Wisconsin. I was helping out with a motorcycle event and my co-worker thought something was wrong with me. I had no sense of anything being different but he insisted on calling the medical staff at the venue. They promptly told me I was having a stroke. I was highly skeptical since I didn’t feel like I was experiencing any symptoms. The responding EMTs fortunately differed with my opinion, taking me directly to the hospital where I was given medicine that kept the stroke from being more severe.

The entire night I remember fighting the idea of having a stroke. It wasn’t until the next morning, after I hadn’t been discharged and couldn’t move my left side and that my parents had been contacted and were enroute, that I accepted the diagnosis. I still believed, however, that I would be getting out of my bed and walking out of the hospital within days.

Days turned to weeks and I was still in the hospital but had been transferred to the rehab floor where I had been working on learning to dress myself, and generally care for myself. Additionally, I had begun taking some steps. How strange to have to think so intently about something that I had been doing effortlessly for nearly 50 years. My therapy team determined that I had progressed enough to be discharged, and my mother was gracious enough to move in with me temporarily to make sure I had help if/when I needed it. (She might look back and say “crazy” enough).

That could be the end of the story but it is only the beginning. In a way it was THE beginning. I have been blogging about the experience for about a year now and truly hope you take some time to read some of it. I would love feedback of any kind. I would love for other stroke survivors or family members to read it. So, in the beginning, there was dark. It was a deep darkness that nearly took my breath away. I couldn’t see out and didn’t know if I ever would. It was terrifying really. But one of the big gifts of my stroke was the undeniable awareness of the people who were there for me. I am still humbled by it all.

Okay, this is getting long and sounding self-important so I will wrap this assignment up by saying that in the year since the stroke, I got to go camping again, get back to teaching motorcycle safety classes, started a new job and have decided that I want to live fully.   It is hard but I want to be a participant. Another gift of the stroke was the spot light that was put on my life. I got the gift of awareness that life is a phenomenal miracle with the potential for many adventures left to experience.