I don’t have any travelogue to offer today. Just a simple musing on life and time.
“Time is the substance I am made of. Time is a river which sweeps me along, but I am the river; it is a tiger which destroys me, but I am the tiger; it is a fire which consumes me, but I am the fire.” – Jorge Luis Borges
I am older now. I just turned 70 last October. I can’t believe it. That sounds wise. It sounds sage but I don’t feel it. And I don’t feel particularly old but now when I contemplate starting a new exercise regime I think it might be best to visit my doctor and see what she says. My brother-in-law just keeled over dead in an instant of a heart attack. No warning. No nothing. He was 66.
I don’t remember when I was a baby but I do remember my youth. Youth was a time of gaining. Everything increasing. Getting more. Physical prowess increasing. Mental acuity increasing. I can remember when running up stairs meant nothing to me. I can remember when I could catapult into the saddle or sit for hours in lotus position or bend over backwards in the plow and think nothing of it.
There’s one thing. I think I’m still getting smarter. But I’m more forgetful now and then. What was that called? Who was that? My hearing is going and I have tinnitus. I have a cataract developing in one eye and glaucoma in the other. I had better than perfect eyesight until I was 55 at least. I also have high blood pressure. I used to have low blood pressure. I mean really low. Nurses asked, “Do you faint a lot?” I’m under a doctor’s care for all this and thank god for modern medicine or I’d probably be dead already.
The older a person gets the more it becomes a process of letting things go and then comes the ultimate letting go and death of the body. It’s the opposite of youth. A bell curve. Up and then apogee and then down. I was reading about Ernest Hemingway and thought, “He really needed a spiritual practice.” Because it was clear he clung to his robust life, bacchanalian, and when it started to fade, he could not adjust. He could not imagine living a life of letting go. So, he killed himself at what I would have considered a young age. Sixty-one.
Can I imagine living a life of letting go?