Sunday, November 18, 2012
A day in the life of.....
When I was younger I'd see older people and wonder what goals they had... what their reasons for living were. I noted that they already had made money, succeeded in a career, raised a family, and had seen the world. I wondered how they dealt with life without these purposes for living? Were they just passing time, waiting to die? Now I am one of those "seniors" and have to ask myself such existential questions. What do I do with my time while I age steadily toward the mortal cliff. First of all, I do my best to not think about it much and prefer to live with the delusion that aging is a slow and imperceptible process that happens to other people. I also embrace the idea that it can be defied by productive intellectual, artistic, and physical activity. Of course achieving longevity is a crap shoot. There are plenty of out-of-shape stupid people who live to be a hundred and others who eat and think right who succumb to weird unpredictable demises. In any case, on most days, to fill my TIME, I consider defying the odds by looking for sources of pleasurable exercise. This I find by hiking, which I do to keep parts of me limber. Rather than laboriously trudging on some whining metallic and rubber-odored machine in a gym, I prefer pacing in a picturesque setting accompanied by the sound of the wind and birds.
The pictures I share today were snapped from a hike I took on Wednesday at Smith Rock State Park near Redmond Oregon. Instead of tackling the renowned Misery Ridge Trail, I decided I would venture up to the north side and catch the vista from the less traveled Burma Road. The path first meanders on relatively flat ground through marsh and scattered pine forest along the Crooked River for about a mile and a half. Then suddenly, without any apparent reason, it turns steeply uphill into a series of doglegs to a false summit. At that point, at least a thousand feet above, the remainder of the trail becomes visible leading to a large claw-like rock formation which serves the hearty as a final destination.
I stood for a while and considered whether I should push myself onward. I was alone, and it was well into the afternoon. A number of "what ifs" crossed my mind. I listened to a series of inner voices urging encouragement or expressing discouragement, counseling prudence, or daring bravado. Finally, I plodded forward, stopping often to catch my breath, to drink some water, and to chastise my aching joints.
Later on, as I descended and neared the parking lot, some larger-sized, lithe animal bounded across the trail some distance in front of me. I caught just a glimpse of it. I believe it was a coyote. I smiled and thought momentarily of our crossing paths. I was heading home for dinner proud and happy and it, most likely, had similar objectives. It had been a day; one more allotted day for both of us.