Friday, March 16, 2007

Kaleidoscope of Shadows

Blearily, I woke up early this morning and set out on my daily hike. Mile 4 found me walking by the all-night convenience store. I stopped and walked in to buy a drink. The cashier was busily mopping the floor and I apologized for walking on it.

“Good morning,” He grumbled as I walked by towards the cooler in the back.

A myriad of choices greeted me as I tried to decide what to drink. Milk? Gatorade? Coca-cola? I reached in and finally pulled out an ice cold Gatorade.

“Kinda quiet this morning,” I said trying to make small talk as I stepped up to the counter.

“Yeah, we don’t see much business this time of the day,” He replied nonchalantly.

A grungy looking fellow then came walking in and headed straight back for the beer cooler. The shopkeeper warily watched him as he pulled out a twelve pack of Budweiser. I had smelled alcohol when he walked by. He reeked of it. The fellow then took his place behind me in line.

“Have a good morning,” I said as the shopkeeper handed me my change and I headed out for the rest of my hike.

The shopkeeper grumbled something to the effect of, “you too.”

Mile six found me walking to a steadily falling drizzle. My hair grew wet and my pull-over grew damp. Luckily, it was very warm this morning so I didn’t have any fears of catching a cold or getting sick. I pulled my collar up close around my neck and soldiered on. I kept thinking as I walked that this would just be a minor setback when I was homeless. I have walked through much more adverse conditions than this.

Mile seven found me walking up my driveway with my legs sore and balking. The rain was now falling at a steady rate and I made it home just in time to avoid a warm and raging downpour. I stretched as I pulled off my now soaking wet pull-over and then walked into the bathroom to blow dry and comb my hair. I looked in the mirror at the many weathered lines on my face. Each line had a story to tell about the hard life I had lived. I felt so old and as if I had just arrived home from the longest journey of my life. I sighed as I turned off my bathroom light and walked into the den to sit down by my heater as Maggie jumped up into my lap.

“I love you, girl,” I said as I petted her in the quiet still of the early morning as my mind jumped around to various topics and thoughts.

I felt so old and ancient as if I could be that ageless oak stalwartly guarding my driveway in the front of my yard. I’ve seen and experienced so much in 34 years.

“I feel so damn old,” I said aloud as all my various experiences in life weighed down upon me heavily. I feel so damn old.

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Summer said...

You feel old and I am I hope today will bring you something good.

Kathleen said...

Age is a relative thing, I guess. I have my days, too. Somedays I feel like I own the world and others feel beaten down, old before my time. The walking helps, though, doesn't it? Sometimes a hike makes me tired, but on the average, walking gives me time to think, time to clear my head, time to get rid of the cobwebs and negativity. And if there weren't so many damned cars on the street, I could breathe. Cheer up, dear heart. It gets much better.

greglo said...

What a beautiful text, Andrew!
I like the mile-by-mile way of telling things.
OK, you're feeling old and most likely tired... to me this old age shows your maturity gained through the variety of things you've been experiencing and how they contributed to shape that great heart you are.

Congrats. again, I love this post!


Jenn said...

7 mile hike? You're not that old, kiddo!

Cheryl said...

I'm amazed that you hiked 7 miles. It's been a while since you've been on a hike, right? You should be sore and a little weary. You've been through a lot in your 34 years. You've picked yourself up and persevered through many a hard time. You should feel proud of what you've overcome and how you handle your daily struggles. You are a strong person.

It's 40 degrees here and pouring rain. We're expecting 3". At least it's not snow!

abbagirl74 said...

I so wish I could have been with you this morning. I love to go on long walks. I love looking at all of nature. It would have been fun. We may have had to take a break at mile #3 and #5 though. I haven't walked five miles in awhile, much less seven. You are not old!! You are only three years? older than me. And I. am. not. old! Have a great day booger! Love ya!

Augs Casa said...

I feel your pain Andrew. I may not have walked in your shoes, but I have walked quite a few in mine. And picking cucubers, green bean, cutting down sugar cane in a field during a long hot summer when I was 12 years old tends to age even a pre teen. I'm glad those days are over. I do have one thing to say, It not the age, it's the mileage. I'm sure you have your share as I know I also do. Wait until you hit 40 amigo.

Jay M. said...

I think you'll start to feel much better once you get back into the swing of hiking. The first few run you down, but once you get back into it, you'll feel younger in no time!

Also, maybe you could look into going on bike rides with someone? Bicycling always makes me feel younger, and it's loads of fun.

Enjoy the warmth!

-Lo said...

I so loved This post! I love reading your words. I felt like i wlked witcha...

Hugs n mucho snuggs


(Thanks for checkin up on moi too ;D )