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Doing the Impossible
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“Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
–St. Francis of Assisi

I’m forever afraid to reveal my childhood. I’m ashamed and frightened to be rejected. I ran away into the woods out behind my childhood home. I ran because I’d said something sassy to my mother and she threw a kitchen towel at me, which meant I’d pushed a button in her psyche, one of the many buttons she had. I did not want to be hit with anything harder. Muscle memory taught me this that being hit often hurts. One painful episode: I’d been helping her hang clothes on the line near the grape arbor. Two lines, plastic-covered metal, parallel strung up on steel cross-T poles. She had me handing her the wooden clothes pins because I was too short to actually hang the clothes. I was five years old. She grasp the clothes pin and place a few in her mouth as she moved down the line. We’d do this every Monday, wash day. I must have pushed her buttons, or one of them, on one of these Mondays, because she chased me with the white wooden clothes stick she used to lift clothes out of the hot water in the Double Dexter. I ran as fast as I could. She tossed the clothes stick like a spear. At me, her child. It hit square between my shoulder blades. My breath caught. I stumbled but kept running to my hideaway in the woods, under the elms and maples. The stick hit thorax 4/thorax 5 vertebrae. How do I know? Decades later an orthopedist asked if I’d fallen off a horse. I wish. No, I said, not telling him the source of these cracked bones. And even more decades later, my spine curved there at T4/T5. I no longer can run or jog or race half marathons as I used to. Left hip trending one way, constant pain. Right hip shorter. I can still walk…in meditation.


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