We find ourselves on the last day of Robert's Show Me Photo Challenge. The "me" edition. I've had a wonderful time with this challenge.
But today, he wants a self-portrait? As much as I think the last few days has been a far better illustration of who I am than a picture of me could be (seriously, who wants to see that!), I figured I'd go for the "bit of me" option he alluded to and tell you the story that accompanies it.
I hate my left knee. I also kinda like it.
I was about 10 (I think...) and we were spending some time with my aunt's family at their cottage by the lake. I loved going there.
My aunt had some bicycles and I decided I wanted to ride one around. The road the cottage as on was a dirt and gravel road and it was a safe place to ride around because people cared about each other and didn't speed. On the other side of the road from the cottage was a farm with a large pasture. They had Holsteins. The road that intersected with the cottage road lead up a hill. I was going to conquer that hill.
We do stupid things when we're ten.
I always wanted to fly. You know, like if someone asks you what super power you'd like to have if you could have your pick? Mine... flying. My most vivid dream is one of me flying off my bed, out my door, down the hall and the stairs and out the front door. I soared over my house and circled my backyard before landing in front of my neighbor so we could play.
So... flying. When you're a kid, there are two ways that make you feel like you're flying: going as high as you can on a swing (sometimes leaping off of it to see how far you can go), and going as fast as you can on a bicycle (usually downhill for maximum speed and wind effect).
Can you see where I'm going?
I get on the bike and head for the hill road. This road has bigger rocks. They're almost the size of the ones you find by a railroad track. It's a bumpy ride uphill but I pump my legs and make it all the way up. From the top of the hill I can see the lake, the row of cottage roofs and the pasture. And the cows can see me.
I turn the bike towards the bottom of the hill and assume the take-off position. It starts off ok. It's bumpy and I wish the seat was a bit softer... and then...
I lose control of the bike.
Over the handlebars and down the hill. Landing with a thump in front of a cow that stopped chewing on the tall grass, looked up and me and mooed, mocking me. I was mad, and humiliated and I had small rocks sticking out of my bloodied leg. I told the cow to shut up, I grabbed the bike and walked (limped) down the remainder of the hill towards my aunt's cottage.
I was covered in dirt, with light trails on my cheeks where my tears of rage and humiliation had washed away the road dirt. I stood on the deck facing the door and looked at the handle. I grabbed it and turned it.
I walked in and started to cry.
My aunt rushed to the bathroom and grabbed her first aid kit and a facecloth and ran it under the water. She cleaned me up and bandaged my leg while my mother kept hovering over me trying to figure out what had happened.
I hated that cow. I swear it snarfed and grinned.
I still have the scar. It reminds me that I can get myself in trouble when I don't stop to think... but I know I can pick myself up, clean myself up and go back out there.
I rode the bike again the next day. But I stayed away from the hill, and the cow.
Thank you Robert and my fellow participants in the Challenge. I'm grateful to have met you all. And my thanks to everyone who's taken the time to read any of the posts in this series. SMOOCH!
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