High on a hill stood a lonely goatherd…


by cheri

For most of my life, my body has not only cooperated with me in my explorations through the labyrinth  of human  existence,  it has also allowed me the confidence to navigate this maze despite uncertainty about what is around the next corner.

I’d like to think that you, too, feel this way about your body. That is to say, you like your body and are grateful that it operates in a way that enhances your life experience. It allows to do your work and your play in a satisfying way. It protects you from assault by the elements of age and abuse.

My body has never boasted that it is a natural athelete’s body. But, by the same token, it has never screamed “klutz” at me. Thus, I have excellent self esteem in my ability to perform bodily activity such as yoga, weight training, and walking 15k steps a day,

I have always been grateful to my body, even through menopause, for staying, generally, in the same shape it has been since I was a girl.


This week.

I betrayed my body by asking it to do something awkward and it rewarded with a big lifeshock.

There is irony here.

My longtime friend Bill and I were exchanging email on Wednesday morning about Porches and painting, physical therapy and Stanford. Since Bill retired last year from his position as a university professor in physical therapy,  I shared with him that I had begun a 6-week regimen in a local physical therapy rehab to  stretch and strengthening my muscles, tendons, and ligaments because of some disc discomfort in my spine. Blah, Blah, Blah.

“Good bye, Bill. Have a great day, “I wrote without the slightest intuition that my day was to change quickly.

I climbed onto my bed still in my nightgown, my newly arrived (from Amazon) kelly green stretching strap in hand.

I followed my therapist’s directions to a T:  lie on the edge of the bed, lower my right leg off the side of the bed with the stretching strap around my ankle,  pull on the strap with my right hand, and bring the heel to meet the hip for a necessary stretch.

And then, in one of my body’s most uncoordinated moves in my lifetime, I pulled myself off the bed.

In trying to recreate this bungling, rolling, thudding 2.5 foot drop, I still do not know how I landed on my right set of cute little toes.

I splayed my little toe from its friends in a split second of pain.

Then the event ended. I immediately apologized to my foot and body in a loud screaming way.

To remind me that I need to pay attention to the little things in life, my little toe saluted at a 25 degree angle.

And thus began a long day of medical assistance which included, I might add, a twice-attempted effort by a cute podiastrist to re-align my toes. He told me I had great feet. I told him he looked the picture of Wisconsin Dutch health. He told me my feet had great circulation. I told him he looked as healthy and fresh as a block of Wisconsin cheese. He laughed, talked, and yanked. He told me I had a bad fracture. I told him I was still flying to Portland to see my granddaughters on Monday.

How you doing?

Hey, I had two babies, I bragged.

The torture ended; I drove myself home.

When my husband arrived home from trial, he found a tiny woman in a big boot and aside from  sympathy, wondered how in the world I did such a thing.

I simply pulled myself off the bed, I said in  a cranky voice.

That night after  my husband and the dog were fast asleep, both snoring to some degree, and  I lay with my tootsies wrapped like a mummy on an Egyptian cotton pillow, I apologized to my body and promised to do better.

I took an AdvilPM and dreamt of the Alps and my journey on a soft dirt path up to a spectacular field of edelweiss where I then frolicked like a young lamb without a care in the world. I kicked up my tiny heels and sang The Lonely Goatherd.

As with all events in life, it is not what to happens to your toes, but how you handle them.













About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in fitness, Life and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to High on a hill stood a lonely goatherd…

  1. CINDY USEDOM says:



  2. Sharon says:


  3. Tiffany says:

    Oh no! Wishing your cute toes with great circulation a fast recovery. Or else you’ll just have to go back and visit the block of cheese.

  4. shoreacres says:

    Ignorant as I am of stretching straps and all that, I still can’t quite visualize how you managed to pull yourself off the bed, but I do know about splayed toes, and you have my sympathy. Perhaps the best parallel experience from my own life was the day when all was going well until the pogo stick hit the tree root. The pogo stick went one way, and I went the other. I landed on the side of my hip, but thought I was mostly uninjured — until I couldn’t get out of bed the next day. Literally, I finally slide to the floor, pulled myself up on the dresser, managed to get dressed and down the steps, and drove myself to the ER. It took six months or more for that to heal — but as you say, the body is a marvelous thing, and you’ll be frolicking like that dream-lamb in no time.

    • Cheri says:

      And you were on a pogo stick as an adult? How cool is that! I can’t visualize how I fell off either. I had hoped to put the tumble into words but there were none. It was, without a doubt, my most uncoordinated move EVER. Thank you for your sympathy.

      I remember one time I expressed feeling a bit sorry for myself on my blog way back in 2008. Some women, who was not a follower, commented that my Pity Party was unbecoming. Since that comment, I have been reluctant to appear vulnerable in any way on the blog. I thank her for that.

  5. Brig says:

    Ouch, that had to hurt, good thing your a tough little lady.
    Circuit training was the hardest for me at this age, as I thought I was fairly fit… au contraire my pretty. I also tended to laughter every time the instructor told me to go workout on the big balls.

    A bottle of aged sympathy should reside on your bedside table.

    • Cheri says:

      It did.
      I have enjoyed a little of aged sympathy (nice image, Brig!) the other night.

      If anyone told me to go workout on the big balls, I would roll with laughter.

  6. Christopher says:

    God made your body to look a certain way. Therefore by doing “…….yoga, weight training, and walking 15k steps a day……” to make your body look different, you go against the Will of God.

    If the way your body naturally looks is good enough for God, it should be good enough for you. Know what ah’m sayin’?

    • Cheri says:

      Hi Christoper, I know this comment is your test to see if my sense of humor also fractured, along with the toe. Happy to report that I still retain my good humor and occasional wit. Hope all is well with your body.

      • Christopher says:

        The way you describe your little toe breaking, where it splayed off from the other toes at 25 degrees, sounds very painful, and just could have injured other bones below the toe, and take several weeks to heal.

        I do hope in the meantime you can get around sufficiently so as not to curtail your normal life.

        • Cheri says:

          It was extremely painful but not as painful as that experienced when the doctor repositioned it twice without anesthetic. Luckily, the X-rays showed no other broken bones. It will take 8 weeks to fully heal. You never appreciate your toes until one of them is really injured!

        • Richard says:

          She is wise, her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace. Why might He direct a mighty force on such a tiny and vulnerable morsel of His creation? His works are indeed inscrutable.

          All the more efective, then, is your sympathy, Christopher, to which I heartily subscribe.

  7. Some of my most horrendous accidents have occurred during the process of exercising this body. The last mishap during a 10k run when a tendon broke, never to return to its proper place. All the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put Granny together again.

  8. wkkortas says:

    When we discombobulate something doing something normal or in the process of doing something to stay in shape (I once got my back out of sorts something fierce in the act of tying a shoe), it’s our bodies letting us know they have a sense of humor, and a rather dark one at that.

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