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Aging

9/3/09

 

I sit on the porch of my cabin west of Trinidad, Colorado. I look at my hands, the backs of which look like parchment paper wrinkled from too much folding. I wonder, what caused my hands to get this crinkled look? Too much sun? Definitely. I am a trout fisherman, a stream fisherman, a fly fisherman. I love to ply the streams around here with my fly rod and catch and release nice brown trout. Seems like I have neglected to put on sunscreen too often. The sun reaches earth at these altitudes with much less impedance by the atmosphere. I like to ski, the sun reflects off the snow and does serious damage to the skin.

            I look at the PiƱon and Ponderosa pine trees on my land. The Ponderosa are all succumbing to the pine bark beetle. I am sad. I tried to count the trees once on my meager six and a half acres but lost count. Now I will have to try to replace all the lost trees. I have seen whole forests devastated by beetle kill. I will never see the current number of mature trees on my property. Perhaps my grandson or his heirs will.

            I wonder if my hands have shrunk to leave all this excess wrinkled skin? Probably. Although I still chop wood and work out, I am sure my muscles have atrophied.

            Am I sad I am getting old? Not really. I treasure my years and feel better now than I did five or six years ago. My father had a heart attack long before my current age and had triple bypass. He died just six years later than my current age. Will I live longer? Hard to tell. I am healthier, happier, than he. But the vagaries of life can hit at any time, any place.

            Aging, I sit on the porch of my cabin enjoying looking at the ever-changing sky, the folds and angles of the foothills, and listening to the quiet interrupted too frequently by kids on 4wheelers, gas well pumps and traffic on the gravel road. But it is relaxing and wonderful here. I am alive and well with wrinkled hands.