I don’t want my age to preclude me from doing things I love to do, nor do I want my body to dictate my activity later on in life – a 40-something’s wish.
Spring flower ride
Snow is coming back to the high country…Thank goodness! The mountains need the moisture to lessen the fire danger. And since it was getting colder as the hours passed, I decided to take an early ride today.
I was happy to be riding early today, as I’ve wanted to stop and ‘smell the roses’ along my ride. Well, actually there aren’t any real roses along my ride, but there are lilacs, lilies, daffodils, tulips, sweet-smelling flowers on other types of bushes and just a plethora of spring flowers blooming everywhere along the bike path. I figured today was as good a day as any to take my time along my bike ride to enjoy those spring flowers considering the moisture that’s predicted in my area will more than likely cover them in a six-inch blanket of heavy wet snow.
An old man’s joy
When I got to the flower and lilac-lined area of the bike path, I dismounted and took my time to gaze at each and every flower and budding bush that I could find. As I walked amongst the flowers and bushes, an elderly gentleman came walking by supported by his cane. He acknowledged me quietly and went on his way. As I crouched low to capture some of spring’s beauty, I glanced back at the gentleman and noticed he had stopped along the path to do the same thing I was doing. I smiled to myself and turned to find more flowers.
I kept finding various flowers which had popped up in different places along the path. These flowers were coming up amongst last fall’s brown leaves and broken twigs from trees. I wondered how long it had been that the flowers and bushes had been tended to…or if they were growing in these odd places all on their own. As I walked and clicked photos here and there, the elderly gentleman that had passed earlier had gone back to his home and come out again…this time, armed with a box-cutter, he started picking tulips.
I kept walking and taking pictures and slowly, we came upon each other. This time, he said, “Well, hello.” I returned his greeting with, “Hello, it sure is beautiful over here.” He sort of smiled and seemed a bit regretful and mentioned that it would soon be even more beautiful. He also mentioned that everyone that lived along the path used to tend to the flowers and lilacs that grew there. As we talked, I learned that he had dabbled in creating some of the hybrid tulips and crab-apple trees that were growing along the path. As he spoke, his voice became like a kid again (strong and youthful) and I could tell how much he had enjoyed growing and caring for the plants that lined the path. But, the regret seemed to stem from his age, even though he easily bent over each time he found a tulip to prune for his wife.
The cold returns
As I bid the gentleman a good day and promised to return again to see what other flowers are blooming, I returned to my bike and rode down the path to my favorite lake. When I arrived at the lake, I could see what parts of the mountains were getting hit with snow already. The sky had become dark with clouds and in the distance, over the lower parts of the foothills, rain shafts were moving eastward (towards me). As I watched the rain move down from the foothills and onto the plains, the air grew cooler where I was sitting. Soon the wind was blowing hard, making the air even colder. This was my cue to start heading home. So, one more time, I got back on my bike and started to ride. As I rode up the wild grass and cactus-covered hill, I noticed small patches of low-lying white flowers. They were different than what I had been gazing at earlier, because these were wild. So, I dismounted one more time to snap a few shots of not only the flowers, but a cactus as well. This was surely my last dismount…at least that’s what I thought. But, after about 100 feet, I stopped again because of the scene that lay in front of me. It seemed the crab-apple trees that were growing along a fence wanted to imitate the pending snow and before me lay a light carpet of white petals. So, I snapped a few more shots and then finally, reluctantly mounted my bike and rode home.
There’s something about growing older that can only be truly understood as we actually age. I know that my chronological age makes kids look at me and think, “Now there goes a Grandma.” And I know that young adults look at me and cringe, dreading the idea of turning 40. But, now that I’m growing even closer to middle age, I honestly cannot ‘feel’ it. My childhood memories are so vivid still and memories of crushes and other lifetime firsts are so real to me…as if there has been no time at all since I experienced them. The only thing that is different about me at 40-something as compared to 20-something is my outward appearance…and of course, wisdom. Do I know regret, like the gentleman I spoke with today? Sure I do…and don’t we all. But, like him, I know many more joys….