Break for freedom – Day 11 (Enter calm)

Day 11 – Monday, August 21, 2017 (Enter calm)

8:43 a.m. – Back home, and I’ll be damned if there wasn’t an unexpected calm during this morning walk. Lasted right up to the moment I realized there was an unexpected calm. But it had happened. For a few minutes, I was in a lovely morning walk, patches of air perfumed by flowers in nearby gardens. When the sun is gold and the air is perfumed by nature, it’s easy to dream, and calm.

Not surprisingly, noticing the calm sent me straight into the arms a fear. This does not worry me; I know my opponent, and I know his moves. I responded to the fear exactly the way I wanted to; I walked up two more hills.  Surrender is not on the table.

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For Brooklyn, NY

Break for freedom – Day 10 (The bullet)

Day 10 – Sunday, August 20, 2017 (The bullet)

7:51 a.m. – Back home from my walk. I looked up around 6:40-something this morning and said: “I want to go out.” In short order, out I went into the early morning cool.

I did not get as sweat-soaked today. I think (I don’t want to say this too loudly) I may be beginning to carve away power from fear. If you happen to bump into fear at a social event, please don’t let on. Fear is quite the control freak, any sign that someone is breaking free of its grasp makes it angry.

For whatever reason, perhaps because this is the month I got shot, I found myself thinking of the bullet lodged in the frontal lobe of my brain during the walk. The brain has no nerve endings, so I don’t feel it. If I were to identify one disappointment linked to its presence, it would be this; I don’t set off airport alarms. I had plans of approaching an airport metal detector and bowing my head forward so it would be the first to thing enter its realm. My thought was, the bullet will set the alarm off, the inspector will point at my head and ask, “So whattaya got in there?” and I’ll respond, “You’re never gonna believe this.” But, alas, these detectors don’t detect lead.

The bullet has been part of my being for most of my life now, 33 years the 24th of this month. It has done its damage, and no doubt plays a role in my life, to some degree. It has its limitations. Name one, you ask? Sure. It couldn’t stop me from taking my morning walk today.

KahrmannHeadXray2.jpg

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For James Scott “Jim” Brady aka Bear

Break for freedom – Day 9 (The wall)

Day 9 – Saturday, August 19, 2017 (The wall)

8:21 a.m. – Back home. It was hell getting out the door today.

I’ve run six marathons in my life, slowly I might add. My fastest was five hours, eight minutes: five New York Marathons and one Marine Corps Marathon. When I began training for my first, I’d hear about this thing every distance runner hits called, “the wall.” Some moment when your body essentially says, You’re on your own, kid, and leaves any further leg movements up to your mind, your will power.

My thought was, how thick could a wall be? I mean, a half mile, a mile maybe? You go through the wall and come out the other side, no? No. No, you don’t. You hit the wall and that is where you stay for the rest of the marathon. My understanding is most hit it between 18 miles and 20 miles. I’d usually hit it around 20 miles, which is why I tell people, the last 6.2 of a marathon, 26.2 miles in length by definition, is 10 times harder than the first 20. It’s all willpower. Which is why, finishing a marathon saturates the finisher with joy, and pride. And so, it should!

When I woke up this morning, I realized I’d hit the wall. I was reeling a bit from nightmares, afraid to even take Charley out. All of me wanted to go back to bed, back to sleep. Just, sleep. And so, I went back to bed and set a timer. When it went off, I got up, and got into the shower. It was the feeling of the hot water on my body and the movements of washing my body that ignited, first the notion, and then the awareness, that I would get out the door.

And so, I went out the door and the walk was, in truth, not so bad. Later this morning I will be in Albany meet with some old friends in the brain injury world and sit in on their workshop. In the meantime, I am going to have another cup of coffee and shoot the breeze with Charley for a while.

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For Fred Lebow

Day 8 – August 18, 2017 (Moxie Man)

Day 8 – Friday, August 18, 2017 (Moxie Man)

5:24 a.m. – Charley’s early walk was lovely. More so than usual, there is a very light rain falling, and the scent of rain in the air reaches the center my heart. I’ve loved the scent since I was a  boy. Had the scent somehow washed over me when I was a baby, then my love for it started then. I kissed Charley on the top of his velvety head, and then let him make his morning contributions.

I treasure moments like this morning’s early walk with Charley, in August more than any other month. August has not been much of a friend. My Dad died on the 16th, my mother committed suicide on the 12th, and I was held-up and shot in the head on the 24th. That said, an enchanting woman called me Moxie Man this month, and that’s just about as lovely as the scent of rain, and embeds a beautiful moment in August.

It just started pouring rain outside! This could me my first real rain walk. I am smiling. I want as much of my life back as I can get. Remember, because you feel hopeless doesn’t mean there’s no hope; it simply means you’ve lost contact with it; it’s still there; promise.

8:44 a.m. – Back home. A walk in a soft rain, the earlier downpour had calmed by the time I entered the morning. I hope it rains the same way tomorrow morning. When I was a boy we lived in an area filled with woods and a nice wide stream me and my friends viewed as our own private river. Walking in the rain reminded me of all the beauty and peace I found in the woods. I think it is still there.

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For Anne Marie

 

Break for Freedom – Day 7 (Measured fury)

Day 7 – August 17, 2017 (Measured fury)

8:01 a.m. – Back home after my walk.

I have mixed feelings about allowing myself much credit for completing this morning’s walk. It was easier than the others because it was fueled by a measured fury, a fury that was part of every stride, every movement.

Where does the fury come from? My father and uncle and many of my friend’s fathers and uncles fought in World War II against the Nazis. My father was in the 20th Armored Division, one of three divisions that liberated the Dachau Concentration Camp. The president of my country is the Nazi’s ally. He an ally of White Nationalists, and he is an ally of the KKK. When I hear some talking heads ask each other why the president is behaving like this. I want to snatch them up by the nape of the neck and, in a loud voice, say: “You guys just graduate the Rhetorical Questions Workshop? Because he is a racist! Because he is a Nazi! Wake the fuck up!”

I did the uphill walk again today. It was no match for me. Let me right-size that. It was no match for fury.

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