Windows open. Windows close.
One of the benefits of living in New England is the frequently changing weather. Having covered over 4k miles on my trike since my friends and family gifted it to me just over a year ago, I've ridden in a variety of conditions. Until this week's blizzard blessed us with a couple feet of snow , we didn't have much; however, it had been quite cold, creating ideal conditions for pond skating. Is there anything more freeing for the spirit and soul than gliding on a wide open expanse of ice? Define your own path; turn, or not; explore; make designs with your tracks; wander; go all the way across or just see where you end up; go fast or slow, or some of each! It's kind of like life that way.
I read an article this morning on regrets, entitled "'No Regrets' is No Way to Live."
As my disease has progressed, it has, almost one by one, curtailed or eliminated many of the outdoor, "wintery" activities that have provided me with joy and filled my soul since I was a child-- skiing, cross-country skiing, running on snowshoes (or not) in woods filling up with snow, and yes, skating. Coinciding with the progression of my disease, I have increasingly been reflecting on my life-- how I've lived, things I've chosen to do and those I haven't...and things I wish I'd done when I was more able. Over the past few years, I've been thinking more about regrets and admitting to myself (and others) that, "Yes, I definitely have regrets."
Among my list of regrets is not pond skating enough. But it is more than that. What do I miss when I gaze out over a vast expanse of glassy ice on a cold, sunny, sapphire-sky day? I see myself with my kids (Alexa, Kara and Luke) skating together. Just skating. And being. Together. Time stops. I regret not doing that. I regret not passing that piece of family lore onto them; not experiencing that freedom and joy-- that togetherness...that bond, that part of my heritage, that connection to it-- to be able to pass it on...
Always an explorer, a few weeks ago I rode down to the pond and looked out onto the ice laden pond, saw some people skating and said, "Why not?". So I pedaled onto the beach and down onto the ice! Silky and seemingly frictionless, I laughed out loud! "This is crazy!" I exulted. I wandered, turned, circled, and meandered to the other side of the pond, LOL'ing randomly along the way. The ensuing days had me adventuring on the pond and to another in a neighboring town. I still can't believe I can even DO that! (The trike handles remarkably well on the ice with my knobby tires and the balanced weight distribution.)
With the blizzard a couple days ago, I can no longer go on my "ice-escapades," but -- since the town next-door doesn't use salts or chemicals on their roads, there is always a fresh coat of snow on their roads after they plow, leaving it-- you guessed-- perfect for me to ride my trike in a winter wonderland setting! I felt like I was on trails! A window closes. A window opens.
Yes, I have regrets, but I also have a vision-- me on my trike and kids on their skates, out on the vast expanse of a sun-splashed, glistening canvas of natural ice-- together, just being...
One day, it will happen. A window closes. A window opens...
"...as we start to emerge from a period that has forced many of us to face our own mortality, we are learning that regret can offer one of the clearest paths to a life well-lived."
(Daniel H. Pink, "The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward"
as adapted in the Wall Street Journal, Jan 29-30, 2022, weekend edition)
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