Approach life gently. Treat life kindly. Live life fully and with enthusiasm.
Respect life--always.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

OUCH! Thanks!

DSCN1739We have had a few beautiful days here in Oregon, surprising when you consider how wet our spring has been. In fact, today, my “office” is outside, under a bright blue sky. There’s only a few wispy clouds overhead, and a slight breeze. What makes it all the more wonderful out here in my backyard is that it is peacefully quiet, and I am grateful for the respite from all the noise of dogs barking and equipment running next door.

I can hear the breeze rustling the leaves of the neighbor’s maple. I can hear a distant crow, and another returning the call from the other direction.

These are the kind of days I am thankful for, and rightly so.

Yesterday, however, was another matter altogether, with a whole range of odd things I am thankful for.

DSCN1740Yesterday was free fishing day at Battleground Lake in Washington; so we headed north in search of adventure—and we got more than  we bargained for.

I’ve not been feeling well, as I have spent the last two weeks with a nasty cold and the cough still refuses to let go. Even so, my energy was higher than normal and I was raring to go, despite my usual levels of pain.

As we began searching for the optimum fishing site, we started our walk around the lake. This site had too many submerged logs. That site had too many overhead trees with lines already caught in them. And all the good sites were taken. So we kept trudging along, despite the fact that I had wrenched my left knee first thing that morning and despite the fact that many spots along the trail were muddy, some even having standing water still from the recent rains.

We stopped at one possible site, and as Ken eyed the logs and overhead trees wearily, something told me that I would have to continue walking with my painful knee. He did allow a short rest, though, which I was very thankful for. While there, I opened my big camera backpack (which I had consciously made the decision to burden myself with because of the quality pictures I can get with my DSLR compared to our other cameras). Turning on my camera, I discovered that the battery was stone cold dead. Not even a flicker of power remained, and I thought that I had recently charged the silly thing. I was upset, frustrated to say the least, but I packed my camera back into it’s case and flung the backpack back on. Luckily I had taken Ken’s little camera along, so I removed it from my other bag and placed it in my coat pocket. I will get back to my camera situation in a bit.

Humph. Okay, so we moved on, passing a few more unavailable or unworthy sites until we spotted the perfect spot. It was wide open, with no visible logs, and the trees were sufficiently high above. Ken had beat  me down to the water’s edge, and as I followed, tackle box in  one hand, camp chair in the other (and remember the heavy backpack too) . . .

. . . I slid. My left knee began to hyperextend. I took a quick step and my right knee began to hyperextend as well, as I went careening down the muddy slope.

Sometimes these things really do seem to happen in slow motion. I made the conscious decision to not let my knees blow out backwards, and I forcefully buckled them forward instead. This sent me face first down the rest of the hill, covering my front with mud. But I saved my knees, and I was very thankful for that.

As my head came down, I really expected that I would be eating mud, along with wearing it. But no. My head hit a downed tree. Is it too odd to be thankful for hitting my head? I bet you are thinking I have a concussion and that I am delirious. Nope.The log was just big enough to stop me from hitting the mud but not big enough to cause too much of a headache. It was about six inches in diameter. Besides, Ken says I have such a hard head, that’s really what saved me. I have had a concussion before (and I never want to go there again), and so I am very, very thankful for that particular log, for it saved me from a face full of mud and also from another hellish concussion.

I am also thankful that my big camera had had a dead battery, because if it had not, then it would surely have been hanging around my neck and would have been crushed and destroyed by the mud as I fell.

At first I cried. Tears poured and mingled with the mud beneath me. Ken came running and tried to help me, with his one good arm. I stayed down a few minutes, to mentally assess the predicament I found myself in.

When I finally got the nerve to get up, not wanting to know the true extent of my injuries and not wanting to experience the inevitable pain, I used the chair to pull up onto.

I pulled just about every muscle on my left side and a few on my right. I was in a miserable state, and still am today.

Next, I pouted. I got mad at Ken for “making” me walk halfway around the lake to go fishing. I was mad that his arm was in a sling and that I had had to go along at all, to be his helper. (I really did want to go along. I was just mad.)

Then it dawned on me. I had no right to be mad at him for something I allowed to happen. I could not fault him for my mistake. If I had not wanted to go (at all) I should have refused at the onset. If I had not been willing to walk so far around the lake trail, I should have been more assertive about the pain I was already experiencing in my left knee. I had had many opportunities to say, “stop.”

I immediately stopped being mad and made the decision to make the best of the situation. I was going to have to get back eventually, but I might as well have fun now. So I took two pain pills, which thankfully I had remembered to throw into my bag, and I proceeded to fish.

Before proceeding, however, I prayed. Lord, I don’t know how we will make it home today. If I cannot drive, then what? Lord, just get me back to the dock, and once there, we will figure things out. And then, Lord, help me to get up the hill and back to the Jeep. If I can get to the Jeep, we have a chance. Then finally, Lord, we’ve made it this far, please help me be able to work the clutch so that I may get us home.


I caught two blue gills, which made me the master fisherperson of the day. Ken didn’t manage to catch anything, but then again, he was having trouble being one-armed.



My two little fishies were too small to keep, so we released them.

DSCN1756Our friend who was floating about on the lake actually caught like a bazillion (not really) blue gills. We left before he did, so he was not able to give us any of his catch, and I guess I am thankful for that because otherwise I would have had to clean fish last night. Whew, narrowly escaped that chore.


Ken was a bit upset that we didn’t have anything to show for all our efforts that day. So I told him what I have many times before. I have had to fish for my supper (literally) and I have fished just for the fun of it. I much prefer fishing without the pressures and stresses of having to come home with dinner. For me, the true purpose of fishing is the relaxation, the quiet surroundings, and the peacefulness of God’s natural landscape.


Our day ended on a good note, with fresh strawberry smoothies from Burgerville.

It was a very painful day, but God carried me every step of the journey, from drying my tears and releasing me from blaming Ken, to each physical step, then mile home. And I am very thankful He watches over me, always.

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