I was riding my Peloton today with Christine D’Ercole, and she said something about mountains. She meant her comment to be about life and bicycles. As the philosopher of the group, Christine does this often. Anything she says can have two, three, or five meanings. You think she’s being clear, saying one thing, but then, she says, “You think I’m talking about bicycles don’t you?” and smiles that mouse-eating smile, and you know she’s talking in layers.

She did that today while we were doing a hill climb. I’m paraphrasing – there wasn’t much blood going to my head for remembering  – and she started on about how your partner, the one driving the car, shouldn’t be the hill but should help you up the hill. “Do you think I’m talking about the mountain we’re climbing?” I think she spit out a couple of mice.

I wondered about it, pushing watts on the bike, and thought I’ve been the mountain since returning home from the hospital. Maybe everyone is when they return from the hospital. I get it, but my wife was hoping for a helper to get up the hill, and not another hill. She wants a break, for an hour or two, to relax. It’s working, I think, this recovery, but it‘s a slow process. My Shepherd therapists told me to hang on for about two years. One is done, and it feels like ten. My brain works fine, and my body does what it’s supposed to. I’ve tested for those things. But what you can’t check for, I’m not sure of. If I could test for ’mountainness’ I’m afraid I would be a peak to climb, hilly and bare with a cold wind howling. And us without a jacket. We’re all waiting for a glimpse downhill, toward the pass, toward the ease of the trail back to base.


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