A midsummer day’s update

IMG_7204Summer afternoon, summer afternoon…

Here we are, in July: midsummer by my reckoning, if not by the solstice and equinox dates. It’s been three months since my bionic hip surgery, which is still the first thing I think of when I wake up and swivel myself out of bed, and the last thing I think of as I arrange the pillows and ice packs at bedtime. Three months into the orthopedic beyond makes me look like a normal person to the untrained eye—no one offers me a seat on the bus anymore (which is fine by me), and fast drivers don’t see any crutch or cane to explain my sub-speedy street crossings (which, I confess, is embarrassing.) Three months also marks the lifting of my surgeon’s constraints that have confined my movements to date. I’ve been careful not to twist, not to bend too deep, not to cross my right leg over my left, lest I test the possibility of dislocating my new joint. That last restriction would seem easy enough to remember not to do, but oh, how I’ve missed sleeping on my left side, with my right leg dangling over the edge of the bed. I know how much that made me ache, pre-surgery; I’ve live in fear of undoing the new hip magic so completely that I’ve actually learned to prefer sleeping on my back these days.

IMG_7194Me and my amazing PT guy, Simon.  He’s done more thinking about how I walk in six weeks than I’ve done in my entire lifetime. Here, he’s easing me into new ranges of motion.

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In short, three months out, and in the heat of midsummer, I’m still going slower than the rest of the world, still giving way to let faster pedestrians pass me by. I’m also still noticing my surroundings the way you only can when your pace is somewhere between dawdling toddler’s and speedy octogenarian’s. The good news is that my perambulations have widened to the outer ranges of My Fair City.

Here are some favorite walk-by visuals from the past few weeks:

IMG_7077Much as I love the path around Fresh Pond, what I love even more are its detours–the alternate routes that leave the high chain link fence around the reservoir behind, and offer little ecosystems of their own.  The photo above shows the entryway to Lusitania Meadow, a favorite venue for nesting yellow warblers, red-winged blackbirds, goldfinches, flickers, and the occasional barred owl.

IMG_7097First Queen Anne’s Lace of the season.  Really, already? Seems early.

IMG_7119The late last iris of the season.  I’ll take it! I’ll take its picture, I mean.

IMG_6613There are lovely first and last blooms at the Mt. Auburn Cemetery these days, too.  This rhododendron found a spot of sunlight on the edge of the Dell, another favorite venue of mine.

IMG_7288I’ve loved the bark of the gorgeous Japanese Stewartia trees in the Mt. Auburn for ages; I only this week learned that the 4th of July is prime time for their blooms. Floral fireworks, indeed!

IMG_6620Okay: kinda cool, kinda gross.  A circle of life shot from atop a headstone that was, I’m guessing,  a red tail hawk’s lunch spot.  What caught my attention wasn’t the creepy extended foot, but for the downy belly feathers, fluttering in the breeze.

IMG_6662This beautiful moment of zen is offered to offset that last photo. A late-blooming azelea, whose name is Pinxterbloom.  Thank you, Mt. Auburn, for labeling your glorious flora!

IMG_7436This decorative grate graces the front door of Isabella Stewart Gardner’s mausoleum.

IMG_7435And this shot, taken through that grate, shows what lies within.  The fact that I can point my phone into a dark void, then touch the screen and have a hidden world reveal itself–that’s a miracle, in my book.  Bravo, my little iPhone!

IMG_7051I’m walking without crutch or cane assistance, but I still need to pay attention to where my feet are going.  This little collective of ground covers caught my eye on a recent walk to Central Square.

IMG_7116Here’s a remarkable sighting: the earliest existing handwritten version of T.S. Eliot’s “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock.” It took an out-of-town visitor and a kindly fellow at the front desk–a jolly guy who, bless his heart, pointed us up the stairs to see this treasure, even though the exhibit was technically closed.  In addition to the benefits noticing more of the world by slowing down, there’s the bonus of learning by stopping to chat with folks in the neighborhood. Who needs Wiki when I’ve got the Houghton Library?

IMG_6873Oh, yeah.  This happened.  How did the great artists of antiquity replicate skies like this, without cell phone cameras to capture the image? I guess they just remembered what they’d seen.  Paid attention, in that amazing moment. I know I wouldn’t forget this scene anytime soon, even if I hadn’t taken a photo or two.  Or two dozen…

Carry on, summertime.  I’ll be right here, taking it all in!