Seventy Springs

Monday

Fewer and fewer public forgotten woodland scenes remain in Huntington in this era of aerial real-estate treasure hunting.
  • I notice that my Monday entries for the last two weeks have been basically identical.  Another sign that short term memory is becoming less clear.  Although, I admit that throughout my life I have had brilliant new ideas that somehow on examination seem to be the same as some great old ideas I once had.
  • Accepting limitations on our minds is just another part of aging, no matter what people say.  After twenty or so you cannot run as fast as you once did.  After thirty the muscles begin to weaken a bit, the gut to enlarge.  By sixty the skeleton is chorusing complaints with the various joints, skin is cultivating blemishes, hair is thinning, all the senses are less sharp.  And god knows what is happening inside.
  • Speaking of God, it was nice once in a while to accept a Calvinistic or Greek outlook on ambition and achievement  and regard myself as a pawn of fate.  I could relax because I was hostage to situation and genetics.  In the short run I could affect my world, subject of course to luck.  Calvin provides a lovely fatalistic crutch when things go badly, and an equally good dissolver of hubris when things are good.
  • Now, of course, ambition and hubris have all melted into the great pot of looming mortality.   As hard to ignore as an iceberg sighted from the bridge of the Titanic.  Thus I am back to where I always was, day by day.  As more and more of my bloated elderly peers make fools of themselves in politics or economics, a decision to exist mostly to remember and appreciate and help others now and then seems completely rational.    

Tuesday

Fog softening shoreline is common in March, but picture doesn’t convey damp chill nor cries of overhead geese.
  • Tides are almost the swiftest of the many signs of cycles which are never exact cycles.  Rocks vanish twice a day, reappear, but every grain of sand and each shell has been shifted or broken.  Most of the algae grows or breaks off.  No wave, no sparkle on any wave, ever repeats.
  • I have witnessed many cycles, cycles within cycles, cycles that still continue, and cycles that have ended forever.  I remember many springs past, although not so clearly as once, filled with adventure and hope and love and all the many annoyances of life.  Now there appears another _ thankfully.  A new cycle has continued with a grandchild.  But what I most realize, peering back and trying to recall thing honestly, is that what I thought might be permanent has gone forever. 

Wednesday

Reflective tidal pools in constantly renewing marshes harmonize with cold fog and plaintive cries of gulls.
  • Act your age.
  • Imagine yourself whatever you wish.

Thursday

Wet days bring out the glow of reeds.
  • I get a kick out of young men on a Paleolithic diet.  After all, most science shows that our distant ancestors died at forty or younger, worn out by, among other things, their diet.  The most striking thing about culture _ the last forty thousand years of human existence _ is that it has allowed a few people to live well beyond their normal biologic destinies.  Some even claim that our relative longevity evolved to help culture itself survive. 
  • So I am well beyond my Paleolithic destiny, but still within a prehistoric cultural norm.  The head Druid could have easily been a septuagenarian who knew all the ancient rites and directed everyone else on what to do.  My only function may be in helping civilization and my family continue, but that is a relevant function.
  • One of the difficulties of achieving elder status in some comfort is that I find it easier to pause or even stop than to go.  I should of course be content with my day, but if I don’t struggle a little bit with destiny I risk sinking into a couch and only getting up to find a new bag of snacks. 

Friday

Gloomy cold fog, spring that refuses to say goodbye to winter.

  • Sometimes physically, more often virtually, I revisit places I have been.  Some things have remained the same, and spark my memories into greater clarity.  More often so much has changed that I am nearly lost.
  • My local wanderings have dulled that transition.  I scarcely remember what Huntington harbor nor the town itself looked like forty years ago.  There are enough vestiges of the ancient remaining to give the illusion of permanence.  But certain picturesque spots have vanished forever, huge houses crown the hills and engulf the plains, immense automobiles speed along highways.  Everywhere there is more signage and less nature.  Even the nature that exists tends to be more manicured, less a spot of wildness than a cultivated garden.
  • I don’t claim that is bad or good.  I do know it is different.  All my past is different from today, as yours will be different from tomorrow.  And it is at such times of recogni
    tion that I most keenly feel my own years speeding past.

Saturday

No professional photographs, blurred, but the idea is there ….
I turn around after closing the gate to the dock carefully.  Sure enough, there’s a darkly cloaked figure resting nearby.  “Welcome,” he greets me in somber tones.
“Ah, Grimm, I don’t need you this fine morning.  Why don’t you save your visits for the deep of night, as usual?”
“Omnipresent in your thoughts.  Another year gone by.  Another step closer…”
“For seventy years, on the other hand,” I laugh, “it’s been another moment gone by, another bit closer.  What’s so special about now?”
“You must admit the end is nearer, anyway.”
“Not really.  As an adolescent possibilities of nuclear war were just as omnipresent.  And in my twenties I was sure all really good would-be romantic artists died before they were thirty.  Nothing new.”
Grimm is not about to give up easily.  “Quake, mortal.  Fear that false beat in your chest, that minor pain in your arm, that moment of dizziness, that strange queasiness in your bowels.  Signs, portents, forebodings …”
“Tra la,” I mock.  “Eternal dance, I suppose, but I still have this real morning, and you own only the imagined future.  I suppose I could tell you to begone, but honestly, I do not mind the company.  Stick around for a while and watch the gulls.”

He scowls and groans and fades away.  I return to my pleasant untroubled solitude.

Sunday

Andromeda blooming late this year,  heavy fog at noon
Seventy springs have flown the years
Innumerable months, days, hours, moments
Most inevitably forgotten.
Sometimes I think I’ve done everything
Sometimes I strain to do just a little more
Mostly I’m just glad I’m here,
I’ve been there,

Unique in all the universe and time

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