I lay there looking up at the Hawaiian sky. I had only started this journey a week before and here I was in Honolulu on my backside looking up at the beautiful sky. But I wasn’t on a beach towel or the soft sand, instead I was splayed out on pavement with my legs mangled in a bicycle, and blood coming from multiple body parts. I tore through my only pair of pants and as I pulled the tear away to look at the leg inside I cringed and fell back to the pavement. It was a deep gash with all the knee skin removed.
As I looked up at the Hawaiian sky, I couldn’t admire its beauty. All I could think about was I just started this journey and already I’m bleeding. I knew I set out on perhaps an insane journey and mission but come on! I was hoping to get at least a month in before the blood started to flow.
Instead of getting up and dusting myself off as is my usual post-accident MO (yes there have been other bike accidents), I couldn’t. Perhaps I was somewhat in shock as I took a serious chunk out of my hand and knee; but I simply lay there looking up at the Hawaiian sky.
And then as has been happening over the past year, the universe came knocking with a message. Sandy pulled up in her golf cart. I’m not sure if she was a park worker but she seemed very official. “I saw you go down over there,” came a southern accent. I watched this hearty lady climb out of the vehicle and literally picked me up because I just couldn’t move. She did that classic mom move where she dusts you off and looks you over. Spotting the knee with her gaze, her face winced and with a booming voice she said “well honey, that is going to hurrrrt, but if it’s the worst thing that happens to you all year, you’re going to be just fine.” And then wrapped me in a big hug.
I didn’t know whether to burst into tears or let out a laugh. Her message and compassion were so unexpected and swift. It was only a few days after the New Year and she was right, if I got through 2019 and this bike wreck was the worst thing that happened, I was going to be just fine.
Lynn Englum has been writing and working on climate change and resilience issues for over a decade. She co-authored World Wildlife Fund's Climate Blog and her articles have appeared in various other news, journal and magazine outlets.