Ode to the Human Body

Tis true that I’m easily awed. Upon reflection it seems that I reserved my amazement for what I thought of as the “natural world”: Hummingbird wings flapping, dolphins gamboling, the Grand Canyon opening, a redwood stretching. Now I experience awe in the very near presence of a part of the natural world that I will never again take for granted. Praise the majesty of the human body. A Peek at the Shoulder

I never really knew my shoulder, though we’ve been hanging out together consistently, unconditionally. After fracturing my humerus, since mid-May I’ve been immersed in the humbling and astonishing process of healing and strengthening. Is there a more complex, better made machine than the “shoulder girdle,” the “shoulder complex”? Physical therapy is my favorite class of all time. Wonders: The four muscles of the rotator cuff, masters of synchronized dance…the attachments here and there working as levers and pulleys…the layers of protective tissue through which all the pieces move…. Shrugging my shoulders now means something very different—wowzer! Range of motion slowly, slowly returns, a fraction today, an inch that week. Then, a tiny bit of strength…work…bit more…slight raising of a glass…wait, I handed you your plate! I put on my seat belt! I can pick up my dog! I can reach the stars!

The humerus now holds steady, new bone pulling together the wounded fragments into a stable whole again. Bone grows anew and patches itself into its former sturdy anchor of the shoulder girdle, the humerus standing tall and united, without surgery. I am a ball of yarn: Knit one, purl two, amaze me. A stitch in time saves nine, at least. How I savor each improvement and appreciate everything I’m learning. At the end of each physical therapy session, my education continues as I sit with the comfort of ice and heat on my shoulder. I look around the room and that “natural world” reveals itself in the knee, ankle, heel, hip, forearm…. I eavesdrop unashamedly and hear how many muscles there are in the foot!

We should teach the body’s truth. Awe is me. Awe is you. Awe is we.