I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list. ~ Susan Sontag
While my heart stays true, more or less, my body will occasionally only feign loyalty. While I often curse rheumatoid arthritis, which I’ve known intimately now for more than fifteen years, for my morning-clumsy hands, slower movements, fatigue and declining strength, I am fully aware that it’s more than just an autoimmune disease wreaking havoc on my bod.
I’m getting older. I’m aging and no longer young. Things just don’t work like they used to. We girls used to make fun of Mom, with her aches and pains and cutting down on caffeine while hormones coursed through our teenage bodies and our skin glowed and we had slim, girlish figures (that we grumbled about then but would dearly love to have now). Oh, we had so much energy and enthusiasm, get up and GO! I understand it all now though. It’s here. It’s now. It’s – me. It’s where my own body is at these days.
And I guess that’s okay. Yeah, yeah – as the old joke goes – it’s better than the alternative. Besides, what can you do? Turning back the clock: NOT an option. We’re stuck. Time – and the elements – just keep rushing forward, unstoppable. Just as unrelenting wind and rain and hail and snow and the ever-glaring sun have continued their onslaught of this humble wooden structure, so too have the effects of life and her accompanying stresses, challenges, griefs and sorrows, exhilarating highs and debilitating lows, hardships and glories exerted their pressures, their effects upon us. But this structure, with its blistering paint, rusted hardware, warped siding and string-enhanced door latch, is still a thing of beauty. It continues to stand, weathering the elements, taking what’s given but still having purpose. Charm. Durability.
That is what I’ll be then. I can provide shelter, structure. I have use. I can provide comfort. I still have beauty. For I still AM. I continue to be. Until the tornado of life bears down on me, I’ll continue to stand. Even if I have my own blistering paint, warped siding and require my own enhancements – strings of a different sort, at times, to handle what comes my way.
Unlike this old shed, though, I’ve got heart. And passion. Drive and enthusiasm. Things I want to do yet, places I want to go. So while I may not have the energy or the endurance, the power or the agility that I may once have had, all systems are go. While the light is still green – and is sometimes yellow – I’ll continue on. I intend to make the best of it and enjoy each day. I’m still standing, weathering the elements of life. Yes. I’m still standing.
Every twenty minutes on the Appalachian Trail, Katz and I walked farther than the average American walks in a week. For 93 percent of all trips outside the home, for whatever distance or whatever purpose, Americans now get in a car. On average, the total walking of an American these days – that’s walking of all types: from car to office, from office to car, around the supermarket and shopping malls – adds up to 1.4 miles a week…That’s ridiculous. ~ Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail
During a weekend girls getaway with my mom and two of my sisters, we were lucky enough to catch sight of the Decorah Eagles nest with one of the adults keeping a close watch over their young brood.
My sister Molly hurriedly grabbed the binoculars from her vehicle to zoom in on the action. There were a number of others gathered around at this point so Molly passed her binoculars around so everyone else could see the eagle up close as well. It wasn’t until we were back in the car that she noticed in her excitement she’d only removed the cap from one of the lenses. It put a humorous exclamation mark on an already satisfying experience.
I snapped this photo of a young girl being guided by her mother as they both viewed the nest – made only a little easier by virtue of just a single open lens – as shown here in this picture!