Wonder what happens when a beach-loving runner breaks her toe at the beginning of summer? I didn’t, but I found out anyway.
It’s been three weeks since I accidentally kicked our coffee table and my left toes went all “live long and prosper” on me. F you, ring toe, I thought, who needs you anyway? Turns out, I need you, like, a lot. Urgent care x-rayed and taped my fourth toe to its middle sister and told me that I could not, would not be hitting the road for 6-8 weeks. I started to believe this because I could not, would not take my foot out of a boot due to the enormous amount of pain this bitty meat stub was causing me. It was excruciating to the point of embarrassment actually, and that’s when I stopped fighting and began to give in to the inevitable. I’m calling this my Slow Period because I’ve had no choice but to take things at a much calmer clip. It all started with my movement, of course, but three weeks in, the pace has extended to other areas of my life. Usually frenetic and fast, it feels as though my metabolism has slowed down (beginning to look that way too, actually) and so has my mental pace. I don’t usually identify as perpetually anxious, but this forced movement sabbatical has made me realize that there was more to my pace than just an affinity for speed. Then yesterday, on a short walk with Talulah (our puppy), I saw something that took my breath away. I had been enjoying the sunshine-y weather and the quiet when I looked up and saw her: The most gorgeous old tree proudly presiding over my neighbor’s front yard. She was stretching her arms out wide, her heart shaped leaves dancing in the tiniest of breezes. I stopped cold, found my breath again, and my heart just filled with gratitude. Not that phony Hallmark channel bullshit but deep, soulful appreciation, and also a little sadness, This tree is one I’ve passed every day for years while running, or walking the dog while checking my phone or being consumed by thoughts and only just noticed the beauty right in front of me. How many more things in our lives are just like that tree? How will we ever know unless we take our time? I have been rushing because I don’t want to miss out on anything. Ironically, going too fast has caused me to miss out on so much.
Breaking my toe was no happy accident, but maybe in a way, it was a necessary one. I’ve been moving quickly for so long; a change of pace has brought an unexpected but welcome perspective. I plan to relish in it and enjoy the rest of my summer slowly, and maybe fatly (yep, just made that up). Cooking for friends. Languishing at the beach. Turning up the music and dancing. Or at least hopping on one foot to the beat.