Disabled Chronicles, No.236
Healthy summer brush choked the path in front of me. I stopped a moment, unsure if the walk ahead would be possible. As if I hadn’t taken this stroll a hundred different times already.
Of course it would be possible. I pressed ahead and quickly felt something out of place. The air felt closer, the space surrounding me narrower. I slowed again and tried to find the mystery.
I looked to my right and noted how the water, generally a good yard or more down the embankment, was within toe-dipping reach of the path. A quick head turn to the other side showed tree bases, once grotesque in how their roots would be exposed before sinking into the dirt, were now oddly submerged.
The silent waters rose up against their embankments, breaching small parts of the path. I wondered as I went along gingerly, if the water had managed to reach across from both sides and run across the entire walkway.
I silently hoped so.
It felt eerie, seeing the brackish water rise so much higher than I had ever known it to go. The walking of this path felt full, brimming with possibility, maybe slight danger, definitely awe. Few had seen this small wonder, let alone to stop and marvel it. I felt as if I were being let in on one of Nature’s few secrets. I stood still, closing my eyes, listening to her whisper them to me. My skin tingling, my mind alive.
Opening my eyes, I pressed forwards, anticipating a full breach. The waters were closer to the tarred path still. If even a front wheel of mine made it onto the dirt, I imagine the soft, water logged ground beneath would give way, pulling me and my chair in, swallowing us whole. Nature bringing Us Home.
And no sooner had I hoped to see it, than I spy the pulsing waters on the side of the path vibrate their way across the asphalt and reach for the waiting waters on the other side. A slight current indicating movement between.
My heart leapt in joy!!! The brackish waters overflowed and swallowed the path!! I wanted to squeal! Right before my eyes, the once visible path turned glassy from unfamiliar waters invading it. I wanted to wade through.
I did the quick calculations in my mind and figured if I kept my phone on emergency 911 dialing, if I took the side of the path most elevated, if I went really, really, really slow, I’d be able to make it across.
Before I could talk myself out of it, I went for it. The breach nary acknowledged my interruption and kept on happening. Once safely across, I turned back, noting how my tires left black wet marks on the dry grey asphalt. Happy with myself, I turned to see how my pontoon pier had fared.
I sat with my mouth agape at what I saw next.
The water, in total disregard, had risen so high that it covered the fixed portion of the pontoon pier, the hinged gangplank, strained to hold onto the pontoon, which could hardly stay straight from the burgeoning waters beneath.
It was glorious!
This pier, that I had nervously shimmied down a million times before, would have had to have been climbed this time around, if I could make it through the water.
I sat in front of that pier for a long time. Running calculations and risks over and over in my mind. I wanted more than anything to put my feet on the water logged decking, to feel the gangplank groan beneath the weight of me, to feel the waters gently tugging on the pontoon, angry that I was on it. I wanted to test Nature and the secrets she had whispered to me.
But I knew, deep down, I knew she would win. I imagined the water beneath, angry that it had to carry this ridiculous pontoon pier and the weight of my chair and my person, snapping the old metal hinges that kept the gangplank to the fixed pier portion. I imagined sinking like a brick into the murky waters, never getting off that 911 call. I rued the imminent danger, knowing it wouldn’t be worth the risk. Yet I stared at that pier, daring it to give me a reason to board it.
Closing my eyes, I backed away, head full of challenge, heart full of fight.
Today won’t be that day. This won’t be that fight.