The Mechanics of Freedom

An ordinary life examined closely reveals itself

to be exquisite and complicated and

exceptional, somehow managing to

be both heroic and plain.

(Susan Orlean)

On Monday, my orthopedic surgeon released me from restricted activity. Replacing my hip joints with functioning metal has proven a great pain reliever. Metal is oblivious to the end-stage osteoarthritis that surrounds it.

It is rare I recognize the exceptional when I am immersed in it. For me, that is the stuff of reflection–a later look–like today’s post.

On Wednesday, a day in which there was no post, I drove to St. Mark’s Wildlife Refuge for the first time in almost three years. That it was my first solo trip only later occurred to me.

The Refuge remains extraordinary in its ordinariness. It is not without marks of our presence, attempts to preserve what we would otherwise so willingly trample. I was not the only visitor that day but I was among quiet humans, all wishing to tread as lightly as possible.

I chose a path I once walked frequently, the tires on my walker sufficiently thick to handle the terrain. I did not go far. Metal hips assist my movement but having the ability and the energy to walk are the work of “higher powers” in the body.

For a few hours or maybe longer, I sit and watch a great blue heron fish. It is a good day for fishing unless one is the fish. Yet, in a pool not far from me, there is the occasional flash of a silver belly—a fish feeding.

In our ordinariness, the Refuge and I are the same and not the same. Even in reflection, it feels freeing, like finding life anew, not without its complications but still exceptional.

Aim for Even posts offer equanimity a dose at a time. No day or dose is ever the same, even if the aim is. You may read about the origins of Aim for Even here or on this site’s About page.

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