I am 51 and a day today. This past year has been one that is still hitting me in waves, endless ripples from countless stones tossed in my emotional pool. I contemplate making a phone call and suddenly realize there is will be no one on the other end of the line. I imagine a voice and the softness of a cheek…and they are gone. My mother will no longer look up from the New York Times Sunday crossword, over her glasses, and announce, “Well, that’s done!” My father will no longer smack his lips after taking a sip of something tasty and raise his glass. He was always one for toasts. “Hear, hear,” she would chorus during better times.
I was thinking the other day that I have never been the “cool” guy. Never hip, never dressed in the latest fashion…I was feeling down that day. Then I realized I didn’t care. When I was younger, maybe, but then again I was envious of those around me who had better or more or newer or sexier (or so I believed)…not much weight there. Pretty superficial stuff. I hope they are happy in their respective lives.
So these days I do what I am wanting to do and this makes me happy. I am not treading on the lives of others and I am moving forward and slightly uphill. I am honouring my mother and my father in my life and activities. I am finally getting around to reading a short biography of St. Augustine given to me by my sister a few years ago. I am reading some Epicurus. I am back to building fine scale WW 1 aircraft which give me great joy and satisfaction, not just in their execution but in the research involved. I am in training for a very tough mountain bike race being held here March 6th. I have a photo shoot coming up next week which I have been looking forward to for months. It will be several hours of intense work, and then that stage will be done. Then I develop the film. Then I choose what to print, etc…intervals and stages, tension and release. One day I am 50, and then the next day…
Biking here on Paros is a good metaphor for my life. The stress of the uphill slogs are rewarded by not only the accomplishment but also the release of the inevitable downhill run, slaloming around rocks and through washed out sections of red dirt roads. Then it is uphill again.
It all feels pretty cool to me.