Losing Altitude

Losing Altitude

By K. Pontikes

 

 

Lift one foot, gain traction, shift my weight forward.

Swing the opposite leg up, parallel position, repeat the motion.

A few minutes of this upward trajectory and my heart pounds like a hammer.

My breathing comes heavy, exhales in loud puffs, my pulse a backup bongo beat.

I can feel the beloved burning in my rear muscles, a reminder of results to come.

I continue to the first elevated lookout point, pause briefly.

The panoramic view from the hillside is radiantly rewarding.

Buttery sunshine fingers light verdant slopes,

Dashes of fuchsia flowers vibrant as a painter’s dream.

Forty five minutes, four times a week, a heavenly exercise.

The first stab of knee pain strikes on descent at the steepest point.

If I step oddly, my feet out sideways like penguin flaps, and I sway

With each cautious step down the slope, the pain stops.

“Walk through the pain” my non-physician husband tells me.

Soon, I can no longer step, as the pain flashes its warning signal.

The MRI results sit ominously in the doctor’s pasty hands, his lips a straight line.

“You must stop the hiking. The downhill is bad for your knees.

Walk on flat surfaces and you will be fine.”

I still walk, on flat black straight surfaces. No surprises, less effort.

I miss the mountain.

Ojo Del Lago
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