The Meek Valley Incident: Part 12
Check it out! Saturday morning and I'm at my computer typing up my blog post :)
I'm also pre-coffee, so this is gonna be real short lol.
It was a good week in the battle against house chores. I think I figured out how to balance productive days with the current amount of spoons I have, and have trusted physiotherapy exercises to fall back on as needed. Likely to be living with chronic pain for, I guess, ever... but I'll take the improvement I got this year of the pain being down in the 1-3 range and no longer in the 3-5 range (out of 10). The days in the 3-5 range still happen, but not consistently and not for extended periods.
12. Learning to Walk
Tam finished the first set of snowshoes and handed them to her brother with some of the heavy leaves. He measured Justin’s boots with his hands and then cut the leaves into strips, weaving them into the nets to make outlines that quickly turned into caps which fit snugly over each boot’s toe. He reinforced the caps with cord but didn’t leave any laces, and wove shorter sticks from side to side to better support the weight of a person. Justin did as he was requested and stood as well as he could in the burrow to test the fit of the caps. Tor made a few adjustments to the cords so the caps fit tighter.
“Come outside,” Tor invited, already moving toward the entrance.
“Why?” Justin asked, kicking the snowshoes off so that he could sit down again with new icicles.
“Because you need to learn how to walk all over again,” Tor called over his shoulder with a smirk. Tam nodded without looking up when Justin glanced at her for confirmation. Justin picked up the strange, netted shoes and followed the scout outside.
“You have to keep your legs further apart, and take longer steps,” Tor instructed as Justin came out of the burrow. “Otherwise you’ll step on one shoe with the other and you’ll trip yourself. The back will drag a bit, remember that because it means you can’t step backwards. Sideways is always leading foot first, same reason as why you have to take wider, longer steps forward.”
Justin nodded as he got his boots fitted into the caps. That all made sense.
“Just keep going around the tree until you stop falling every few steps. Try not to break the caps or the nets,” Tor added as Justin stood up. “Once you have going forward figured out, we’ll work on turns and going sideways.”
Justin looked at his feet and readjusted his thinking for what Tor had just said about tripping. Usually he learned things quickly, but this already felt awkward and he hadn’t even taken a step yet. He sighed and looked around at the falling snow, still showing no signs of stopping, and started re-learning how to walk. Tam emerged with another pair of snowshoes for Tor as Justin was learning how to step sideways, and the scout built toe caps and added reinforcement sticks while offering Justin even doses of chiding insults and coaching.
“You keep working on that,” Tor stated, stepping into the caps of his own snowshoes and adjusting the cords to fit snugly. “I need to remember how to do this myself,” he admitted, grinning.
“Why?” Justin asked, surprised.
“Scouts use skis,” Tor said, sighing as he took his first few steps. “I haven’t snowshoed in years.”
“What’s a ‘skis’?” Justin asked. Tor stopped walking to look back.
“You’re so foreign,” Tor said with a laugh. “Skis are long planks the width of your boot that have a curled up front like a sled,” he explained, drawing the shape in the air with his hands. “You wax the bottoms and then just slide over top of the snow with them, rather than walking. It’s faster than snowshoeing,” he added with a shrug. “A sled is like a tiny barge that you can ride over snow with, pulled by people, dogs, or horses. Or you can just ride the sled if you’re going down a hill,” he added with a grin when he saw the next question forming on Justin’s face. “The fronts of skis and sleds curl up so the snow doesn’t come over the top.”
“Like the bow of a ship?” Justin asked, getting only a confused look from Tor in reply. “The front of a ship,” Justin clarified.
“I’ve never seen a ship.” Tor grinned, laughing out loud when Justin stared at him in shock. “I’ve seen barges, and I was on a fishing raft once but I didn’t like it”– he made a face –“everything smelled like week-old fish.”
Justin huffed out a laugh and went back to practicing side-stepping. Tor was almost out of sight around the tree the first time he fell, laughing to himself as he pushed back to his feet to start striding again. They worked at improving for the rest of afternoon, exchanging insults and practicing moving, the activities eventually leading to a snowball fight which quickly elevated to a mock wrestling match that was exponentially harder than it needed to be due to the amount they were both laughing. Once they couldn’t hold off the hunger anymore, they banged the snow off of – and out of – their clothes and hair, still chuckling as they exchanged friendly insults. It was going to be a long, hungry night, so they decided to rest through it rather than staying busy and getting hungrier.
Tam was humming when they came back into the burrow. She lifted a single eyebrow at their matching grins and went back to stirring the little pot on the fire. Justin’s stomach rumbled loudly when the smell inside the burrow hit his nose.
“What is …?” Tor loomed over the pot, frowning sharply when Tam elbowed him back.
“It’s my surprise,” she said, pointing with the spoon at where each of them was meant to sit. “I found some squirrels and their cache this morning while I was looking for branches,” she told them once they were seated.
She poured the mix into each bowl. It was a thin stew of meat, nuts, berries and sweet grasses, but it tasted good and there was enough for everyone to eat until they were momentarily full.
“You’re amazing, Tam,” Tor complimented, leaning back and burping after finishing his last bite.
“Agreed.” Justin was already washing out his dish with a handful of snow so that it could be dried and packed away.
“It wasn’t –”
“Shut your mouth, little sister,” Tor interrupted. “You can depreciate yourself privately in your head. Out here,” he pointed at the burrow in general, “the consensus is that you’re amazing. Now agree with me,” he demanded, grinning. She rolled her eyes and shook her head, about to say something different. He nudged her knee with the toe of his boot. “Agree with me because you know I’m right,” he pressed, his smile widening. “Tell me I’m right.”
Justin chuckled at the two of them, making her blush. Tam heaved a sigh and started washing out the pot.
“I did a good job making a surprise dinner,” she finally conceded.
“That’s not what I said,” Tor argued, nudging her knee with his boot again. She smacked his leg so he nudged her a third time. “Say it,” he drew out the words and she sighed again.
“I’m amazing,” she mumbled at the pot in her hands.
“Yes, you are,” Tor agreed, sitting forward so that he could catch and hold her stare. “Never let anyone force you to believe different,” he stated, his tone and features suddenly serious.
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A weekly blog updating on Fridays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!