Memory is like patches of sunlight in an overcast valley, shifting with the movement of the clouds. Now and then the light will fall on a particular point in time, illuminating it for a moment before the wind seals up the gap, and the world is in shadows again.
~ Tan Twan Eng
Morning. Today is my last day to be 56 years old. At least in this lifetime. Yesterday I mentioned that I’d be writing shorter posts on the non-coffee chat days, and of course the mind, being such a trickster and contrarian, wants to write and ramble, ramble and write. My mind wants to throw in lots of images, too. Quite contrary.
Today, during the early beginnings of this day, I read an essay that was a wistful and melancholy piece about missing things and experiences we once had, and I found myself looking back at what once was, but the sadness I felt, for just a few moments, was more about things that never were. Silliness. What was can’t be changed. What was not can’t be changed either.
M and I are going to Assateague Island today to hike in the woods and walk on the beach. It’s easy to be in the here-now while I’m walking and hiking, especially at the beach where the wind and sand and water conspire to keep you in the moment. But in this present here-now, in the early morning hours, in the dark before the sun rises, my mind drifts backwards to the days of being younger, when everyone was young although I didn’t recognize the youth of my elders at the time. That’s a funny thing, isn’t it? How age is relative to our own age.
I don’t usually spend much time in the past, but there was a sweetness to going back through my collection of digital photographs.
Someday I should break out the photo albums and scan a few pictures from the way-back past.
The sun is up now, and I should see to breakfast. I think we’ll treat ourselves to breakfast burritos this morning. Eggs, potatoes, veggie sausages, peppers, onions, and cheese (smoked Gouda) all scrambled together, placed in a tortilla, and slathered with homemade salsa.
I’ll have to finish this later since there are things to do before we go to Assateague and I take my last hike as a 56 year old. M is going to make hot sauce this morning with the last of the jalapeno and Hungarian hot wax peppers from our garden. That will likely make the kitchen a hazard zone for a while with all that hot pepper fumes in the air. I have a few indoor chores to take care of, and then the day is ours for hiking or biking or whatever it is we decide to do. Maybe a bit of both.
Evening. I didn’t have time to finish this post before we left for our hike. We ended up taking the bikes so we could cycle our way to a trail we haven’t taken before on the Virginia side of Assateague Island (Chincoteague). We pedaled about a mile from the parking lot, enjoying the sunshine and the calmness of the day, parked our bikes on the convenient bike rack at the end of the trail, and hiked for a while. We found another path that veered off towards the beach and took that after hearing the honking of geese, the bugling of tundra swans, and the quacking-laughing sound of ducks. It was a good call. We passed a large pool filled with all manner of water fowl including the beautiful tundra swans who winter here.
Past the pool we walked over the dunes and down to the beach where the ocean waved at us, over and over and over again. The waves were small and we were the only humans on the beach. We happened to arrive at low tide and there were lots of beautiful shells scattered on the beach. On the dunes we saw paw prints that might have belonged to a bobcat (or a very big other kind of cat).
It was a lovely, almost perfect day. We hiked a little over 4 miles, biked a little under 2 miles, and I can’t speak for M, but I greatly benefited from the fresh salt air and walking in the midst of such beauty.
It was a great pre-birthday celebration, complete with a stop at the Island Creamery where we indulged in some fabulous milkshakes. I had the salty caramel, M had the Marsh Mud Chocolate Malted (Marsh Mud Chocolate is double chocolate, probably the richest, chocolate-y ice cream I’ve ever seen or tasted). On our way off the island, we were treated to this:
Tomorrow I will be 57. 56 was pretty darn good, all things considered, and it is certainly ending on a high note.
Signing off on 56,
Be good, be kind, be loving, be well. Just Be. 🙂