Sep 18 2009

Profile Image of Walt

The Passing of Days

Posted at 7:39 am under Blog Post

You aren’t supposed to talk about it.  You’re considered a pessimist if you do.  But when the leaves start to turn in early autumn, I can’t help but consider the fleeting nature of things, the passing of days, my own mortality.

Three weeks after leaving the trail, my right knee still complains.  My ankles are still shaky, as well.  My body just doesn’t spring back the way it used to.  In my 50s now, I suppose it’s unrealistic for me to expect that it would.  Still, these nagging joints are constant reminders of a fact I’d rather ignore: I’m not going to live forever.

Unlike me, my 4-year old German shepherd dog, Matika, is stronger now than she was when we hit the trail a month ago.  I toss a rubber ball, it bounces on the hard, dry ground, and she leaps into the air after it with unbridled joy.  I vicariously enjoy her blatant demonstrations of physical prowess.  But deep down inside, I know how temporary it all is.  I’ll have to be lucky to have her by my side on a hike ten years from now – real lucky.

Moving stone.  I helped my neighbor cart and shovel two tons of drainage stone this week, placing it around his mobile home in a foot-wide skirt.  It serves no purpose but he likes the look of it.  The job made me feel like Sisyphus but he was happy in the thick of the task, as if having something to do was reason enough to get up in the morning.  I suppose that, at 86 years of age, one takes one’s small pleasures wherever one finds them.

A literary friend of mine died recently.  I read about it in the newspaper.  We weren’t close, but we liked to get together on occasion to talk about nature, literature and politics over tea.   I’ve been meaning to call her.  Where did the time go?  I didn’t even have a chance to say goodbye.

Yes, the leaves are turning now.  I find the transition between summer and fall both sad and beautiful.  I want to go for a long walk in the woods soon, kicking up the brilliant red, yellow and orange leaves with each step, and smelling it – smelling the passing of days.  Strangely enough, I’m not nearly as afraid of it as I was as a young man.  Back then springtime was the only season I could really appreciate.  But things change.

One response so far

One Response to “The Passing of Days”

  1. Andrewon 18 Sep 2009 at 12:16 pm 1

    Very nice. Thanks for writing it.
    I remember when we would scamper up trails with little thought beyond the heaving of our chests. Now I sit at a keyboard with sore finger joints due to yesterdays yardwork.
    Oh well.