Age creeps up on us all and while it does create new challenges, many of which are related to body ailments and an increase in physical limitations, the added years also afford us perspectives not previously embraced. The older I get I begin to understand there are demons I’ve fought my entire life. I recognize now the people in my life who’ve always had my back as well as the sad realization there are others who do not — no matter how hard I’ve tried to garner their true love, support and acceptance. One can only channel Sally Field for so long.

And so, I try not to dwell on my hurt and disappointment. Instead, I’m working on appreciating what I do have — and it’s a bunch! — and taking better care of myself even if that means letting go in the appropriate manner.

Daily Prompt: Release

We had just arrived at the condo we’d rented for a week in Estes Park and were chatting with the older woman in the unit next to ours. Several elk were roaming the area around our new little home away from home including this huge bull. Elk begin the rut in September and we knew from a prior visit how thrilling it is to encounter these magnificent animals almost anywhere in the Estes Park area. So to see one in the parking space behind our condo, well, let’s just say it was pretty amazing.

The bull was surrounded by several females and this guy was certainly protective of his ‘girls’. They were approximately 20-30 feet away from where we stood unloading our car. The male started toward me. Instinctively ( and foolishly!) I raised my camera to take yet another photograph but when he came a little faster, huffing and snorting in a manner indicating his apparent displeasure in our proximity, I moved around to the other side of our vehicle.

It happened just so fast. The whole episode felt surreal. There she was, our neighbor – who we had met just fifteen minutes earlier – lying face down on the pavement next to the driver’s side front tire with Mr. Elk standing over her. His head was down, his massive rack lowered as if ready to strike again if she presented any additional threat to his harem.

Not likely, as she was bleeding profusely from above her right eye and under her chin. Her shirt was soaked in blood. My husband raised his arms, yelled and hit the hood of the car to get the elk to run off. Eventually, the bull tired of the game and turned around, calmly walking away and back into the woods.

I grabbed some napkins from the glove compartment and Bill went next door to retrieve her husband. We helped the woman up and then they left for the ER. Her injuries required stitches in both places and she also suffered a jawline fracture. She could have been blinded or killed and was extremely fortunate the elk had not injured her more seriously.

There are signs located throughout Rocky Mountain National Park advising visitors to maintain a distance of at least two bus lengths when encountering elk. Duly noted, RMNP. Duly noted!

We navigate our lives with arms stretched out before us, unsure of what lies ahead. We find our way, we learn, we grow. Soon, we are enmeshed in the familiar, the sameness, the comfort of what’s known, providing us with the warm satisfaction of safety, nesting and contentment. But this same familiarity can often lead to stagnation, boredom and restlessness whether or not we are aware of its impact. We require change and challenges if we are to grow.

So, if we are to enjoy continued reawakenings – those grand feelings of awe and self-nurturing – we must recreate ourselves. New mantles undertaken with enthusiasm, perhaps tinged with caution and restraint, are key to exploring new realms of what we are capable of becoming. Climbing those mountains, learning new skills and acquiring new tools for living, touring exotic locales, opening ourselves up to infinite possibilities are all positive and exciting facets of lives not just well lived but truly, truly lived.

Daily Prompt: Recreate

I’m rocked
by your splendor.

Tears gather strength,
seeking release.
A choke in my constricted throat
as I’m overwhelmed
(and humbled)
by the raw power
you exude
at every twist and juncture
of this crazy road
as higher
and higher
we drive
into a world
and a creation
as alien and sparse
as Jupiter’s landscape
to wandering Neptunians.

You enthrall
and terrorize me.
I’m captivated
and frightened.
I’m bewitched.

Switchbacks
and drop-offs.
Cold feet
amid hairpin turns.
My four chambers
ratcheting wildly.
Nothing else matters
at this moment.
You make me aware
of what it means to be alive.

Pizza oozing,
enticing,
bursting
with temptation
certain to both
sate and deflate
with every glorious
bite.

Thick crust or thin
(thin, please)
mozzarella
parmesan
(lots of it)
basil and oregano
spicy Italian sausage
pepperoni
crispy capicola.

Flavorful? Oh, my.
Yes,
she says
wiping the drool
while simultaneously
dreading
the cholesterol check
she’s put off for too long.

Daily Prompt: Flavorful

She’s a hard woman to like
let alone love.

I know I should try harder.

She is weak, manipulative
and lacking in charm.
She is joyless and self-pitying
and worries about
every. little. thing.
On steroids.

I should be more caring, more tolerant.
Patience is not my strong suit.
It would be easier to show sympathy
if she were someone pleasant,
someone cheerful, someone fun.

But no. Instead, she is the dullest person
on the planet.
I’m pretty darn sure of it.
And seems content to inflict her misery on the rest of us
instead of making her own way,
finding her own happiness.

Yes, I suppose I should be more kind
but damn if she doesn’t make it
almost impossible to care.

Daily Prompt: Sympathy

I’m no poet
apparently
and I do know it;
even my shoe size fails me
(I’m a six).
I entered the hallowed halls
filled with promise
and anticipation.
The kings and queens before me,
they did not disappoint.
It was I who fell short,
inadequacy my trademark.
Bluster, my ill-fitting coat of arms.
Humbled and chastised,
my trailing tail coiled between
the two legs I did not even
have to stand on,
I’ve chosen to retreat.
Perhaps one day
I’ll fight again.

Molly & me in the hayloft
on a warm day in June,
peering through gaps
in the floorboards.
The Brown Swiss below us, oblivious:
What did they care of sisterly shenanigans?
We chewed on black jelly beans
and thought we were hilarious
as we spat our licorice mastications
onto their unwitting backsides.
We were so easily amused.
No technology was involved
in our heifer harassments.

Actions (inactions, too)
Yield consequences
Don’t you tire (yet) of having to pay
The price for non-sound judgments?
Saying nothing
Letting you make your own choices
With continued dour results:
Bone-wearying.
Futures depend on thinking
And doing right
Wild, tangential arrows
Target excitement and thrills
Stable foundations, not so much.
Oh, but what do I know?