Crossing a Bridge of Wounds

They say that time heals all wounds. To a certain degree, I agree.

Some wounds disappear from view and lived experience in a heartbeat – or in a day; while others cut deeper gashes, create lifelong hindrances and handicaps, impediment and impairments, occasionally leaving visible and disfiguring scars. Some wounds are harder to heal, while others are altogether – let’s face it – simply unhealable.

In this particular realm, I’ve not been untouched; my own collection of wounds punctuating the landscape of my life’s journey. Over the years, I’ve gathered a mild constellation of physical and mental injuries, some more easily conducive to healing than others. But the most fateful of all, despite a diminishing of its intensity over the years, will never fully be banished; neither from memory, nor from body.

In the most subtle and largely invisible ways, my great tumble off a bridge on the 25th of January 2009, has forever transformed the outer, concrete shell of my existence: The railroad track scars. The narrowed and shortened left foot. The bony sacral protrusion that renders it difficult to lie my back on a hard surface. The neuropathy that still prevents erect, full-body sitting; and the flare-ups if caught in a wintry climate. These are the touchstones of my fall, each tender spot still shaping, in ways mostly unspoken, the contours of my days.

Unlike previous years, when I’ve acknowledged (celebrated!) this day of survival and rebirth, this past year has enlightened me: the urgency of so many world-wounds and individual ailments must take precedence over whatever wounds still reside in my body.

So today, as I do every year, I spent a few hours in quiet solitude and gratitude, walking mindfully along a path I know well, leading me over a bridge or two. A sudden and serendipitous meetup with the dearest and most beautiful stray-beach-dog I know, Foxy, made it seem that all was well in the world. For she, no doubt, is one of my guardian angels; fiercely protective, with a subtle but present love.

On this day, as I retrace the turns of the wheel that led me to that fateful bridge-fall, I turn my gaze to this world, so deep in pain. May we find the strength and wherewithal to jointly cross this all-consuming bridge of fears and tears, so that we may soon find more healing of our many wounds, on the other side.

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