Monday, February 19, 2007


I love to explore. My neighborhood, forests, beaches,
small towns, cities, foreign countries, museums, cemeteries,
just about anything. As you can probably imagine, many
places are hard, and often impossible, to explore when you
have to use a wheelchair to get around.

When I was 5 years old, my family and I moved from a city
in Minnesota to the country in Wisconsin. We lived next to
a beautiful lake, and we were surrounded by woods. The
photo above is a picture taken from our front yard. (The
dog is jumping and popping bubbles in his mouth.)

Exploring the lake and the woods were a favorite activity.
There was a pond back in the woods that very few people
knew about. I absolutely loved being there. I didn't
get to go very often though because I wasn't allowed to
go by myself. I had plans of going there by myself when
I was older though. Of course it never crossed my mind
that at 8 years old I would become a paraplegic, and going
to that pond would become impossible.

There we lots of other great places to explore too. The
property next to ours was a very old abandoned farm. It
was build by a wealthy lumberman in the late 1800s or early
1900s. He lived in Chicago, and this place was his summer
vacation home. There was a huge seven bedroom house, a horse
barn, a cow barn, a chicken coup, silos with the most fantastic
ferns growing in them, a small two room house that was perfect
for a play house for my sister and I (and the two neighbor
girls who were killed in the car accident). There were woods
behind our house with skunks and porcupines and an old shack.
There was the lakeshore with lots of neat rocks to find and
crawdads to uncover. (I actually still have some of the rocks
that I found there. I've passed them on to my daughter.) There
was a big field across the highway with all kinds of berries to
pick and bugs to discover. A short walk up the highway led to
some horses in a field. I remember sticking my hands through
the fence, and them gently taking sugar cubes from my hands.

Those exploring days abruptly ended that August evening because
of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. No more going to
the pond. No more visiting the horses. Exploring the lakeshore
and the field and the old buildings were very limited. If the iBOT
existed back then, many of those places would have still been
accessible to me.

As I wait for my iBOT, I look forward to all the places I will be
exploring that I cannot currently explore in my manual chair. Sure,
the iBOT has limitations. I know I won't be climbing Mt Hood in my
iBOT. But there are so many other places I've only dreamed of

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