I’ve mostly adjusted to life using wheelchairs. I love them — my power chair and manual chair. I can go many places but not everywhere I want to. The power chair can handle a lot of different surfaces, but does best on flat paved ground. Of course, it does well on floors and indoor surfaces.
If it hasn’t rained too much, I can get around on grass, so I can get out and see my garden.
It’s been raining often lately, but it’s still quite warm. I’m seeing mushrooms pop up and they delight me. I want to take photos of them, but often they are in places I can’t get to.
A few days ago, I saw huge yellow fungus that had grown up overnight under the oak trees across the street. The trees are surrounded by an island of mulch. I went to see if I could get close enough to get pictures. There were about six big yellow blobby mushrooms. I tested my wheelchair on the edge of the mulched area, and it seemed to be able to move okay.
I flew across the mulch and got a few photos of two, then turned to get another.
Then I wanted to go photograph the others and tried to move the chair. And it didn’t move. The wheels dug into the mulch, which was damp from the rains. I tried different speeds and pushed my weight around at different angles, but the wheels just spun.
I was stuck.
I felt like such an idiot. I also felt an acute sadness at not being able to follow my whim and capture pictures of these wonderous bits of nature.
I phoned my son and he was home. (I have a list of helpers I can call and he’s first on the list.) He came in about 10 minutes. It seemed a long time to me because my sense of stupidity and loss seeped into my entire being. I started to cry a little bit.
When my son arrived, he disengaged the motor of the chair, and pushed and pulled it out of the hole I’d dug myself into. He took time to marvel at the mushrooms. A young woman jogged by, but stopped to see if we needed help. She asked if the garden across the street was mine. It is. She’d seen me sitting on the porch.
“I always love walking by it. It makes me happy.”
It makes me happy, too.
My son walked with me across the street and made sure I was safely in the house. He didn’t chastise me for my foolish pursuit of images.
I sat out on my porch for awhile, surrounded by plants I have full access to. I’ve photographed them hundreds of times. Every year I still get a garden. The whole world isn’t accessible to me, but I have a good space.
This is disability pride month. I’ve seen people with disabilities online showing their amazing lives and ways of getting around. I’ve see people with disabilities let nothing get in their way. But I know they struggle, like me, with limits and barriers that no amount of pride or strength will break down. It’s not bad. It just is.
Within my limits, I know I have a lot of riches. I doubt if I were able bodied, I would have developed the eye for detail that made me notice the mushrooms. I couldn’t take the time to nurture my porch garden. The reason I love and respect plants so much is that they are rooted, immobile, but they grow, bloom, fight and flourish from their one small place in the world.
I thought about my list of people who will come help me when I get in trouble, need rides, get stuck. When I feel the limits of my life are unbearable, this circle of friends (I include my kids in the circle) come to put wheels on my troubles and we move forward together.
Friends are the best assistive devices. Friends are accessible. There is always an accessible bridge between our hearts.
Thanks for reading my blog. Feel free to share it, if you’d like.
This blog is brought to you by the generosity of people who support me on Patreon , buy my art, and who support me in so many different ways.
If you’d like to make a one time donation, you can do so at pay pal
Cards and prints on some of my art is available on Redbubble.
You can subscribe to this blog by email in the link below this post.
If you find a typo, let me know, and I’ll send you a postcard.