Milestone

Photos by Martin John Aubin

I woke up this morning thinking about my 70th birthday (today) and how it’s a “milestone”.

I thought of an old song by Simon and Garfunkel from the album Bookends. “Old friends, sat on their park bench like bookends, a newspaper blown through the grass settles like dust on the high shoes of the old friends. Can you imagine us years from today, sharing our park bench quietly, how terribly strange to be seventy…”.

But it’s not so terrible. It’s just strange. And nothing is much different from yesterday. That’s the curious thing about aging. It’s like a long, slow slope. It’s not a cliff. Thank God. You look in the mirror at age 30-something and you might see a few gray hairs and laugh lines. Then over the years you see more until one day, like me, you just give it up and let the hair be gray like it wants to be. You might have a fling with botox but eventually that’s just an expensive indulgence and you give that up, too. “Be who you is, Tooter. Not who you is not. Those who do this is the happiest lot.”

This trip has been good for Marty and me. We’re getting out and getting stronger. We hiked through Cathedral Wash yesterday. It’s more like a slot canyon. It’s our consolation prize for not being able to go to Antelope Canyon, that incredible slot canyon near Page AZ. They said at the exhibit at the beginning that it was not “technical” but I would have been happy with a few carabiners, pitons and ropes. It’s “technical” for an old fart and at one point, which felt like miles down the wash but was probably only a few hundred yards, we had to turn back because it was not sensible for ones such as us to continue. Yet, we did OK. Going downhill was relatively easy. Go slow. Watch where you put your feet. Stop if you want to look around.

I thought going back up was going to be really hard but I utilized the old tried and true method of sitting on my butt and schooching up narrow and smooth parts. Marty put his foot in the right spot for me to brace against and we made it in fine shape. I had visions of saying to the mountain goats as they ran past (young people – hate ’em) “we need a ranger to save us!” But we didn’t. It was a grand day.

They call it a wash but it’s more like a slot canyon. Cathedral Wash near Marble Canyon/Vermillion Cliffs.
The strange rock formation called Tafoni. Gravel embedded is washed out and you get brillo pad.
It didn’t hurt much and was necessary to get up a steep, narrow section. Ya do what’s ya hafta do. It brushed off easily.
Bright Angel Point, North Rim. The haze is pollution from Phoenix and Los Angeles.
The mighty Colorado River was cold! Every body of water I see, if I can get to it, I get in. It’s an ablution.
Don’t fall down now! I have more things I want to do today!
Not a bad office, wouldn’t you say? (Lee’s Ferry Campground near Marble Canyon on the Vermillion Cliffs.)

10 thoughts on “Milestone”

  1. Great stuff and pics as always. And I learned a new word, ablution. Guess my swimmers have been doing this every season. Glad, too, that you both are stronger – no way that rock formation was coming down on your head. Welcome to the decade of septuagenarianism if that is even a word. When you get to be our age, you can make up words, whatever. Who cares unless you’re playing Scrabble. As always, enjoyable reading your posts. Take care; stay safe, Bobcat Chik; Marty, too.

  2. Happiest of birthdays, dear Renee and many more!!!! Glad to know u r a Libra too
    John had his birthday on the 11th and one was 9/26

  3. Wonderfl writing, as always Renee. Welcome to the ranks of the 70 somethings! And remember the short poem authored by the famous poet (which famous poet I know forget) on his 70th birthday:

    Turning seventy.
    At least I know I won’t die young.

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