After a couple of surprisingly warm February days, cold, damp and, gray set in today with the temperature hovering in the 20s. It was a day that I found myself wanting to stay inside my cozy house, but I could not. I had an interview scheduled for the morning, at noon a plan to visit my friend who had her knee replaced yesterday and, early in the afternoon, a reporter from the Rocky Mountain Collegian was to interview me about my White Shadow book.
So off I set, opting to drive instead of walk to the offices of No Barriers, a national organization based a mile from my house that I’d never heard of until last week-end. In casual conversation at a church-related event on Sunday morning, I had questioned a woman sitting at my table about what she did. “I’m the education director for No Barriers,” she explained.
“What’s that?” I asked. “I’ve never heard of it.” When she explained that it was a non-profit organization with a mission to change the lives of wounded warriors, those with physical disabilities and youth through organized outdoor experiences, I got curious enough to ask if I could interview her for a North Forty News article. I had no idea what I was getting into.
After an hour, I learned that the organization employs 35 people and offers diverse experiences all over the world that not only change the lives of those who participate, but encourages participants to give back to others as a result of what they have learned. The article will not be an easy one to write. There are too many amazing stories to tell. One no-barrier example: founder Erik Weihenmayer was the first blind person to summit Mt. Everest.
At the hospital, my friend was laughing with her physical therapist, had already mounted a stationery bike and was about to walk back to her room. Really? Just a little more than 24 hours after getting a new knee! She was busy ordering chicken marsala for lunch and planning to watch the Olympics on television in the afternoon when I left her.
On the other end of the interview this time, I tried to explain why I’d taken more than a decade to write about Janet Mondlane’s courageous and challenging life. Not so easy to do without spoiling the story for a reader.
It turned out to be a good way to spend an otherwise dreary day.