Walking away is not an option... dialogue must prevail.

"A good listener tries to understand what the other person is saying. In the end he may disagree sharply, but because he disagrees, he wants to know exactly what it is he is disagreeing with."
- Kenneth A. Wells

"I do not want the peace that passeth understanding. I want the understanding which bringeth peace."
- Helen Keller

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Showing you... me!

It's Saturday!

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.

I flew.

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!


Dana said...

Awww ... I think this is my favorite! I'm so glad you did this challenge - we learned so much about you!

Anndi said...

Dana: I'm glad I did it too! I remembered a thing or two about myself.

Travis said...

There was a big hill at my gram's house too, although her place was in the city and the road was pavement with sidewalks. It was steep when I was 10, with an excellent curve at the end.

I never wrecked on that hill, no matter how fast I got the bike going. It's a miracle I didn't kill myself, either on the grill of a car or by catapulting myself over a sidewalk curb and threw the window of one of the houses.

Anndi said...

Travis: We've got a nice fast hill in front of the house too... with no cows!
Go IRISH! C'mon and dance a jig with me!

Carletta said...

Loved this little insight into your past Anndi! Brings back lots of my own bike memories.

I so have enjoyed meeting you and seeing all you've done with this challenge.
I will be back.

Have a wonderful weekend!

quilldancer.com said...

I was much too busy this week to visit anybody, so I have just now come and read all of your SHOW ME posts. The one of your mother's watch made me cry. The one of your child and your honey brought a smile to my face. I enjoyed your bubble bath post, too. It was great to have a chance to get to know you.


Gattina said...

Sorry, but I had to laugh I just imagined the scene with the cow, lol ! Your selfportrait is really nice you look so full of joy !

Raven said...

What a fun post and story. Knees and bicycles seem to have an unsavory relationship.... I have a less exciting bicyle story and was luckily spared scars. Love your smooch picture. No mistaking who your daughter takes after.

buffalodickdy said...

That's the anndi I have come to know and love! One buf hug, and a kiss on the scar from me..Scars are just a Life Tattoo. you know..

Dianne said...

I love that portrait of you! pretty eyes! it's hard to look so good in B&W

and as scars go that's a pretty cool scar.

Jeanne Damoff said...

Hi, Anndi. I jumped in late to Robert's challenge and now I'm making my way around to all the participants. Love your photos and stories!

I have a scar on my knee from a bike crash into gravel, too. I was probably ten or so as well. Maybe it's a rite of passage? In my case, I was riding home from the movie theater on a narrow two-lane road and caught the edge with my front wheel, hurling me onto the shoulder. Thankfully I wasn't tossed into the traffic instead! I got mad, too, but mostly because the strap on my purse broke when I skidded through the rocks. I also remember it took all summer for that knee to heal, because I wouldn't stay out of the swimming pool.

Wow. Sorry for dumping that whole story in your comments. You really stirred the memories! ;)

dianne - bunny trails said...

Love the bike story - thanks for sharing that one. Your self portrait is great! It's been fun meeting you and I've enjoyed following along with all your pictures and stories. Glad you played! :D

Ron said...

OUCH...that sounded painful!!!

When I was a kid, I fell off a radiator once, and broke my arm..

...but there were NO cows around.


OMG...I'm reading about how you use to FLY around your house when you were a kid. Do you know what that was? An out-of-body experience. No, kidding, I mean it. I had a friend in Florida who did that too! How cool, Anndi!

Hey...and I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the photo of you, and the fact that you're using it as your avatar is GREAT!!!

Thanks for a thoroughly enjoyable week of Photography Challenge, Anndi!

I really enjoyed it!

Desert Songbird said...

I have a similar scar on my left and right knees (and left elbow, as a matter of fact), but they didn't involve a hill. I was determined to be the biggest tomboy in the neighborhood by mastering the "hockey" stop on a bike. The street had other ideas.

Kay said...

Cows are evil... 'nuff said.

I love teh last photo of you, for some reaon on my screen it was the first thing to load :) made me giggle.

It was great seeing your Show Me Stuff last week! I loved visiting your blog and will continue to do so... but not in a creepy way, promise.


Turnbaby said...

I need to show you my knee scar sometime;-)

I loved this series. Great pic.

I love you!