The routine

Status update.  Thanks to this walking boot on my left foot, most of the broken bones in my foot are mending.  Slowly but surely.

I say most of my bones.  Not all of them.

The third metatarsal bone, which is somewhere in the middle of my foot,  has snapped in two.  It’s not a break.  It’s not a fracture.  I saw the X-rays.  I will most likely need reconstructive surgery.  Whether it’s to insert pins and plates, or to shave down the bone so that the jagged edges don’t tear into muscle and tissue, at least I know there’s a plan.

And before I can get this surgery, I have to get some of my health levels back to normalcy.

Physical normalcy I can achieve with pills and diet.

Emotional normalcy… that’s a rougher journey.

Before this injury, I was extremely active and I enjoyed the activity.  The journey.  The discovery.  The excitement.

But ever since last month, when I spent the weekend in the emergency room, I’ve felt broken.  Physically and spiritually and emotionally.  And although bones can heal, I have to work on healing my psyche.

The first step.  Try to do things I haven’t previously done before.  Learn to cook something different.   Last week, that was potato latkes the way my Grandma Betty used to craft them.

My recipe.  I purchased a kitchen slicer that makes little julienne-sliced cuts in potatoes and vegetables.  One russet potato in the slicer, lots of confetti-shaped potato slivers.  Three tablespoons of melted butter in a hot frying pan.  I dumped the potato shavings into the pan, added some Kosher salt and some black pepper, fried on one side for five minutes, flipped and fried the other side for five minutes.  Not bad for a first try.  Almost as good as Grandma Betty used to make.  You call them hash browns, I call them latkes.  Work with me.

The next step.  Go out and do something.  Go see a movie.

And that’s what I did.  The other day, I saw Moana at the Colonie Center cinema.  Yes, I’m 53 years old.  Yes, I still have an affinity for Disney movies.  And I really enjoyed this film.  Dwayne Johnson as the brash demigod Maui was a scene stealer.  And if this song actually wins an Oscar, I think it actually qualifies one of the songwriters – Lin-Manuel Miranda – to become an EGOT.  Wowie.

And I could swear I heard Jermaine Clement, one of the “Flight of the Conchords” guys, in this movie as well.  Yep, credits said he was in it.  And wait – Pittsburgh Steelers legend Troy Polamalu is in this film as well?  Mind blown!!

Next step.  Get the cameras and go shooting.

Part of my journey through this crazy thing called life has been intertwined with photography.  And while I was immobile, I thought about what I could do, how I could get that spark – that flash – that strobe – back into my life.

So one day, I traveled to one of my “honey hole” photography locations – St. Agnes Cemetery.  And after limping around the grounds for a while, I found this.  There’s a Civil War soldier who fought at the Battle of Antietam, buried on the St. Agnes land.

Crap.  The sun isn’t at the best angle.  I could get a good shot if the sun wasn’t behind the engravings on the tombstone.

Or… I could lay down on the ground and photograph the monument, with the sun’s rays radiating around the stone itself.

Aw, but the ground is dirty and muddy.  Oh wait, I forgot.  I’m Chuck Miller, I don’t care about dirt and mud when it comes to photography… that’s what laundromats are for.  And I’d crawl through worse than dirt and mud, especially if I can get a shot like this.

O'Keefe.  Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens.  Photo by Chuck Miller.
O’Keefe. Nikon Df camera, Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Keep going.

Next step.  Watch something new.

Last week, I finally acquired a Netflix subscription through my Apple TV connection.  I decided I’d watch one TV series through Netflix that I had heard lots about, but never got around to actually watching.  And I figured that once I finished binge-watching the series, my foot would have healed enough that I wouldn’t need this Frankenboot any more.

So I’ve already finished the first season of Breaking Bad.  How the hell did I never watch this show when it first came out?  Damn.

Next step.  Keep busy.

The National Basketball League of Canada is starting their sixth season at the end of this month, and I’ve already commenced my duties with the league – statistics, player contracts and clearances, and this little thing called the “Cool Stat of the Week.”

Yep, each week I go through the NBL’s statistical archives and I find some unique tidbit or trivia or statistical anomaly, and I share it with the NBL fanbase throughout the Great White North.  And I get some funky background music to go with it.

Another step.  Understand that you have to do this all by yourself.

Going through all this, I realized that the only person I can count on to get back to health was me.  I have to prepare for everything.  Surgery could put me in bed for weeks, so I need to have my fridge stocked and my clothes cleaned and my laptop charged.  I’m not expecting people to come over and nurse me back to health.  Not that I wouldn’t mind it … but I can’t rely on it.

Another step.  Make goals for 2017.

I have goals.  I want to go back to the Boreas Ponds and capture a star trail or a Milky Way shot.  I want to go to Cape Cod and to Maine and to Maryland and photograph some lighthouses, and even (if they let me) travel up to the top of each one.  I want to drive to South Carolina in August and photograph that solar eclipse.  And I want to travel through North Carolina and say to myself, “What happened in 2016 was an anomaly, and I will never have another car accident in that state ever again.  Or in any other state ever again.”

Goals.  Goals will keep me focused.

I can do this.  I will do this.  I must do this.

And whether I do it by myself, or with the support of my friends and blog readers and everybody else, all that matters is that I take these steps.  Figuratively and literally.

If I can do this…

Then truly, I’ve pushed a mountain out of my way.

That’s the plan.

Those are the goals.

Do this.