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.