Recovery and the magic of Lake Mere

The lovely Mere Lake, less than half a kilometre from here on the Subiaco Common, might just as well have been on the other side of the moon. Bursitis of the hip has kept me home for many weeks, or at best walking only short essential distances. Swimming, even many laps, on the other hand, didn’t hurt as much, so the local pool became my go-to place.

But I’ve been a walker all my life, and not walking makes me grumpy. This is especially so because of my commitment to living the way Julia Cameron recommends in The Artist’s Way. She says to be creative, a person should

  • Write three pages in longhand every morning.
  • Walk every day
  • Go on an ‘artist’s date’ every week.

When I lose that rhythm my life loses some of its bounce. I struggle. Lurching, limping, staggering and stumbling give me no pleasure.

Ageing bodies

I don’t often write about the discomfort that can go with the territory of an ageing body, mine in particular. Pain is on my list of taboo subjects for discussion. A couple of years ago I wrote a blog about aches, pains and illnesses and why I think they make lousy conversation.

As Gordon Livingston, MD says in his terrific book Too Soon Old, Too Late Smart,

‘…the old have a duty to suffer the losses of age with as much grace and determination as they can muster and to avoid inflicting their discomforts on those who love them.’

However, observers might have noticed my recently acquired limp. Oh, and my contorted face when I moved. My hip seemed like the only thing left in my life to talk about. That, and my sessions with the physiotherapist, ‘dry needling’, the special exercises I did and those I couldn’t and, of course, my pain medication.

(Thank you, dear family, who treated me with such kindness, visited, called and took me out for coffee. Lots of coffee.)

Lake Mere magic

Then, one day, walking for pleasure again became possible. Subiaco Common beckoned.

Mere Lake on Subiaco Common
Fountain in Mere Lake

Five hundred metres,’ I told myself. ‘I swim twice that far three times a week. I can do that.’

Still not completely pain-free, I practised ‘not limping’ the way the physiotherapist had taught me. Took the ramp, not the steps. Breathed deeply. Opened my eyes and looked around.

Subiaco Common, which my family calls ‘the party park’ because we meet and picnic there, looked amazing in the spring light.

The City of Subiaco takes great care of its residents. The parks are beautiful, the street art brilliant. Mulberry and olive trees thrive in strange, public places. Citrus line some streets.

As predicted, Lake Mere and its fountain in the centre of the Common sparkled.

Stepping Stones in Lake Mere
Stepping stones in lake
Dappled light
Dappled light under oaks
Mulberries ripening on tree
Mulberries on tree

Toddlers with faces stained from mulberries picked by their father wandered by, calling noisily. A magpie carolled. Pale green fronds of maidenhair fern unfurled among the stepping stones in the creek. The smell of freshly mown lawn hung in the air. Kids on school holidays played on the equipment. A board-skater stopped to let me pass. People with and without dogs greeted me.

My soul felt nourished. My aches and pains disappeared. Recovery, here I come!

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12 Comments

  1. Maureen, you always bounce back. Thank you for sharing the beauty you found, not only in your walk, but in your gracious spirit. The photos are delightful, too. Much love.

    1. I’m lucky that I’m basically healthy, Susan, and usually recover well from setbacks. But this one really threw me. Thank you for your love and support, which I appreciate deeply.

  2. It is amazing how nature can effect us. Walking through your Common would be so beautiful Maureen – you have taken us with you, indeed, so beautifully.

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment, Elizabeth B. Yes, the Subiaco Common is a delight.

  3. A lovely post. I will remember your quote from Dr Gordon Livingston.We live in Old Daglish and walked around here a couple of
    weeks ago. It is a peaceful, pretty place and Subiaco Parks & Gardens do indeed look after our open spaces very well.

    1. Thanks, Maureen. Glad you also walk around our beautiful Common. Perhaps we’ll catch up there one day. I thought you lived in Swanbourne. Not sure where that came from.

      1. Probably thought we lived in Swanbourne because we met via Louise Allen whose chn & herself were all singing students of mine at various times.

  4. You are one brave lady, as I always knew. I have had brustitus on serveral occasions. also with a cortozone injection. Standong up from the sitting position, and getting out of the car usuallyprovides a responce of “Oh shit”

    1. I said my fair share to those, too, Miriam. And lots of times other than the ones you mention! I opted for no Cortisone. Not sure now why. It might have speeded the recovery. Look after yourself. Looking forward to seeing you on 30th. x

  5. May your recovery continue smoothly Maureen, so you can enjoy your walking fully again!
    (And much empathy to you – I’m currently also dealing with bursitis, so annoying!)
    xx

    1. Thanks for your kind wishes, Fiona. Such a pain. I hope you also recover quickly and get back to your normal life.

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