“Did I tell you about my skis?”
“No. Here, now do some bridges, engage that core and keep squeezing the basketball between your knees.”
“That’s four things!”
“You can do it, Martha. The anesthesia is about gone by now. Your brain can maybe manage it.”
“Now what about your skis?”
“Oh I was at that flea market on the 285 with some friends. We went into the back room part there and I was looking around and there was a pair of skis exactly like the ones I had when I moved to California from Colorado in the 80s. Back country skis.”
“They called to you, didn’t they?”
“They did. My friends looked at me with pity, so I just put them back, but later on, I went back by myself. I looked them over, and the left one, you know like this?” I pointed to my recently repaired hip, “it’s pretty badly delaminated. That’s why I bought them. They are like me.”
“Like you were delaminated.”
“So it just needs to be fixed, some epoxy, stuff.”
“Did you get it repaired yet?”
“No. I’m waiting until…”
“I’ll fix them for you.”
“You fix skis?”
“Yeah. I’m a ski guy.”
I kept bridging, “The tips are kind of messed up, too.”
“Probably need a rivet.”
“Yeah.” Then he handed me a Theraband. “OK now very gently move your knees outward. Not too far. All we’re doing is teaching that new joint how it works.”
“You see the poetry in that?” I knew he would.
“Your left hip and your left ski?”
“Yeah, but you’re helping me learn to walk well again and make this new joint work so I can do what I want and you’re fixing my skis.”
I told him about my plans to hike the San Franscisco Creek Trail, too. Around here people call it “Frisco Creek” but I can’t do that. No one in California calls San Francisco “Frisco” — it seems like an abomination. I’ll get over it, maybe, but I kind of like St. Francis.
“Maybe next year,” he said.
“You can do the lower part, though.”
“I’m thinking November to give it a try.”
“That’ll be possible, a couple of miles, I think. It’s kind of like this,” he moved his hand to show up hill and down hill. “But nothing too steep those first couple of miles. You’ll be able to do that.”
“I’m good with it taking time. When I first lived in California I was in terrible shape. I didn’t know where to go, what to do, how to live there, then I found a place. At first — well it was me and a five-month old puppy — I could only go half a mile. But then, I kept going and, yeah. I love that. I love the whole thing of becoming better at something, able to go farther, being stronger. Anyway, however long it takes, at the top is an alpine lake and some peaks.”
“We’ll get you there,” he said.
And I believe him.