The Path Along the Pines
By Saralee Perel
Like the cycle of life in which tides ebb and flow, so it goes with relationships. As often happens with couples when one partner becomes disabled, my husband Bob and I have had our share of receding waters ever since my spinal cord injury. But because of a stick, a pair of earphones and a field of pines, the tide has shifted for both of us.
Sitting on the bed,
Dashing along fields of pines,
In mornings, too early
To tell you
Thank God we made it better. It wasn't going to happen by itself. We needed to make it happen together, as a team.
So one recent afternoon, I could hear Bob rummaging around in our backyard shed. After about an hour, he laughingly called out, "I found it!"
And so I did. In one of the dark corners of the shed, he found the wooden walking stick he had hand carved for me when we were first married. It was brittle and dry from years of not being used nor cared for. So what did Bob do? Well, by polishing and re-polishing until its shine was as lovely and rich as it was in those beginning years of our marriage, he gave it new life.
Before he presented me with his re-creation, he handed me a card in which he had written the second poem:
Sometimes, if we're not aware,
When we discover them,
Bob and I knew that his words had a lot more to do with "us" than they did with my precious walking stick.
After he gave me the gift, I put my regular cane under the couch. The walking stick suits me, in many ways, much better.
Later that day, I was sitting outside. I was listening with earphones to a James Taylor CD on my iPod. When I heard "My Romance," I reveled in the words and the music. Suddenly I thought, "I've got to find Bob." I faltered for a moment getting out of my chair, but then I stood myself up.
"What's there to think about?" I said to myself. "Go!" I had learned from Bob when I'd heard him rummaging through our shed, that a single decision can change an entire life.
When I walk, I need support for balance. With the determination of an Olympian, I held on to tree after tree as I rushed into the house. Bob was at the computer. Then without saying one word, I put the earphones on him and took his hand.
He held me up while we danced.
My romance . . . doesn't need to have a moon in the sky.
We swayed to the music.
No month . . . of May. No shining star.
No hideaway. No soft guitar.
Bob took one earphone off. "You listen too," he said.
I closed my eyes. He led me into a slow twirl as we both sang.
My romance doesn't need a thing . . . but you.
Sometimes, wondrous things right in front of us take a long time to embrace and re-discover. With one set of earphones now belonging to two people, a dash along our backyard pines and a walking stick brought back to life, we have reclaimed our love at last.
Award-Winning columnist and novelist, Saralee Perel, frequently contributes her columns to us. Her newest book is Cracked Nuts & Sentimental Journeys: Stories From a Life Out of Balance. Read about her challenges after her SCI, stories of her caregiver dog, and her human family too.
For more information on Saralee, her book order information from Amazon or the publisher, even to purchase a signed copy, please visit her website: SaraleePerel.com.
Saralee is also on Facebook. Visit her page, Saralee Perel Presents Gracie, My 4-Footed Coach.
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