Skinned knees sting like a mother

I fell off a treadmill a few days ago.

Fortunately it was located in my basement and not in public space.

But still.

It was embarrassing.

Dark, ugly scratches beginning to scab over now trouble both my knees.

What happened? I’d stretched to one side to adjust the music on my left arm’s miniature Ipod and lost balance somehow.

It didn’t hurt as it happened, and yet the next day I found that my knees were a mess.

And they hurt.

A lot.

So all the times I’ve told my sons after a tumble, oh it’s ok, you’re fine, and it’s ok, well… it’s not.

Splicing the delicate top skin off one’s body hurts.

Two days ago, I ran 6.45 miles in a gorgeous inner city park in Portland, Oregon. I’d been concerned about my still-stinging knees, but they were fine. I should have been more concerned about my legs! It was quite a hilly course, filled with ups and downs and loops, surrounded by tall green trees and cheerful volunteers and children (including mine!).

A beautiful morning brings the city to life.

During the run (four hilly loops in the park) I was reminded that I am so fortunate to be able to run. I walked a bit on the uphills, too, and generally I’d feel bad about that, but I didn’t this day. Walking a little was okay. I felt energetic and onward toward the finish of the Run Mama Run 10K.

I thought about the knees and ankles and lives blasted away in Boston just weeks ago and my heart sank a bit, humbled by the terrible, trying aftermath as we humans just go on and do what we know to do well and unwell and the actions that may ultimately do and undo us following a tragedy.

When we came home I gazed at the flower pictured below smiling at the sky from its shady spot in our backyard.

I carried white calla lilies on my wedding day, and these gorgeous flowers with dark green pointed leaves never fail to mesmerize me.

In 1944, Diego Rivera painted Desnudo con alcatraces (Nude with calla lilies). We have a reproduction of Rivera’s Calla Lilly Vendor in our dining room. Some people believe the calla lily represents Rivera’s lover and wife Frida Kahlo, a woman of complex talent and suffering. I’ve read almost everything there is to read about Kahlo and Rivera, and I’m not sure what the white blossom indigenous to Mexico means, but it sure was lovely to tend to while I sat gingerly on the deck, crusty knees and sweaty hair and slowing heart rate.

I thought of how Kahlo never became a mother, and how she described what it was like to wake up bleeding, having lost another gentle angel spirit, a life for only a moment or two.

I held close in my mind’s eye two young boys who one by one stole my heart, and listened to them cheering me on from the side of the road, their voices clear and joyful.

Run, Mama, Run! 

Truly I am blessed given what I have lived, loved, and lost.

It was a wonderful Mother’s Day, and the journey continues.

calla lily

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