It can sneak up on you, like a little flabby love handle around your waist, or a lengthening forehead as your hair retreats.
One day you find yourself caught up in the fast lane, hellbent on making sure that you fill every … single … frickin’ moment of life with something, rather than nothing.
Looking back I suppose I found myself there sometime, somewhere — maybe back in those St. Elmo’s Fire days right after college, or probably as editor of VeloNews — although I’m confident I never rose to the level of your average type-A tyrant because, of course, I’m just a lazy ass at my core.
My Golden Lab puppy Summer, however, appears destined to live in that lane of perpetual play as she scours our campsite for every stick and brings them over for a tug-of-war or fetch.
Predictably my Alfred E. Neuman “What Me Worry” mantra takes control of this chaotic situation.
I fight the pangs of guilt urging me to play with Summer, or saute my salmon, or even hurry to guzzle my beer while it’s still ice cold.
Gonna chill tonight.
Gonna listen to the silence of nature and soak it all in like a cool morning mist along the coast kissing my cheeks.
I’m not interested in my puppy’s pace, nor the nuthatches that flitter around the fire pit, nor even the slowly disappearing rays of the setting sun.
Tonight, I’m one with the trees.
Steadfast and solitary, seeing the world hurry around us.
The Lodgepole Pines rising straight to the stars emerging from the dark gray dusk have witnessed this dance for many more years than I’ve been alive, and will continue for tens if not hundreds more after I leave, not just this campground, but this reality.
The silent trees have weathered the good years and bad, noting the chilling difference between what humans deem a bad year and what trees have endured as truly bad years.
We’ve learned that the forests harbor extensive, intelligent networks beneath the surface just inches deep in dirt yet miles deeper in awareness beyond our thoughts.
They shrug at our cluelessness in the same manner we swoosh away pesky mosquitos; our nano-second swat equal to their decade if not more of swaying in the breeze.
As a tree falls its network moves onward, redistributing its wealth to the future generation in a simple manner while we wonder throughout our sleepless nights if we have managed to transfer our broad experience to anyone or if it will disappear forever.
I’ve spent less time pondering the meaning of life than most kindergartners yet I’ve come to believe that like a mighty Redwood that has withstood the tests of time, it doesn’t matter if I’ve risen to the heavens or outlasted all my peers, but rather that I simply lived my life and contributed to the endless march forward in some humble manner.
I made a sauce of chopped pickles, red jalapeño peppers, sliced green cabbage, avocado mayo and salsa. I spread it on a toasted Brioche bun with a lightly fried filet of salmon on top.
The perfect feast as I prepare for a cycling adventure in the morning.
Time to ride.