Friday, April 13, 2007

Folk Fest

Yet another setback on the road to recovery. Maybe. The truth is, I've been functioning in this semi-injured state long enough that I don't really remember what normal is supposed to feel like. But I do try to be careful. These days, with summer approaching ever faster, I try to be so, so careful.

Today I had some grocery shopping and other mind-numbing errands to do. Before that, I decided to go for a walk on the beach. You know, slow walk on a flat gravel beach, skimming the surf and picking up seashells like toddlers and little old ladies can do. But the tide was coming up and on my way back, I had to climb up into the rocks to get through. I tentatively chose every step, taking advantage of every handhold and generally following the mantra of three-point contact. However, I was probably just shy of that number when I set my foot down on a slanted boulder and lost contact immediately. I plummeted down the slimy surface in a blinding flash of white pain. It felt like my knee had finally ripped clean from my leg like it's been hinting at all this time. I lay crumpled on the rocks for several seconds, unsure of how to make my next move. If I got up to walk and learned I couldn't, I knew I'd be devastated. And not only that, I'd be stranded alone on a beach with the tide coming up and not a soul knew I was out there. But if I got up and learned I could still walk, I'd have a short hike and a long afternoon full of shame and regret ahead of me. Of all the fun things I could have done to unravel any progress I've made, a toddler walk on the beach would be about my last choice.

After the white streaks stopped shooting across my field of vision and my knee-jerk panic reaction subsided, I accepted the reality that I was OK. I stood up and oozed my way off the rocks at a literal rate of about 100 yards an hour. When I made it back to the safety of smooth gravel, my gait and speed returned fairly quickly back to normal. It seems that all I really did was bend my knee too far when I fell forward, and that pain I felt was just the "10" version of the normal pain I feel in other knee-bending tasks, such as pedaling a bicycle. No new damage, right? Just a little warning from the tender tissue. That's my story. I'm sticking to it.

Well. It seems I've gone off rambling about my knee again. I really intended this post to be about Folk Fest, which is an annual old-timey-and-other-acoustic-music event created to fill out a week of that dull time between winter skiing and summer fishing. Folk Fest is huge here in Juneau. I really had no idea. Half the town packs the city auditorium so tight that there's no room to dance, which is probably a good thing in my case, and countless musicians spill out in the streets, the bars, the motels - anywhere - to start their own renegade sets. We went tonight to see the headliner, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, because we heard they were the real deal. And they were. Alaskans really love their old-timey music, which always struck me as amusing because of our distance - both culturally and geographically - to rural Appalachia. But I am starting to understand the draw. This music will grab you and fling you around in leg-kicking frenzy and spit you out in an idealized world where nothing happened after 1929. I'm not going to pretend I know anything about the culture of old-timey. But I do know that it's a fun escape when it comes through town.

Also, since I'm on the subject of rambling, I wanted to say hello to all of the new people from all over the world who dropped by Thursday (thanks to Blogger for the link love.) More than 5,000. Wow. You may have even read a few posts and are probably wondering why someone would devote an entire blog to a knee injury. But there could be worse blog themes, don't you think? I mean, what's the deal with those people who pretend to have an informative regional blog and then just spend the whole time talking about their hobbies? Pathetic, really, when you think about it.