I woke, Thursday morning, aware that I was officially one year older than I was the night before. I had entered the fifth year of my seventh decade.
I suppose that, if I were of a more philosophical bent that morning, I might have formulated a thought or two about this whole "aging" thing. I didn't dwell much on that. I simply brewed my coffee and slowly prepared for a morning bicycle ride. I wanted to ride. I looked forward to cycling a favorite forest preserve trail while the day was young (though I can't claim that I felt all that young myself).
The weather was...uncertain. That's pretty much the way the weather has been for weeks and months on end. We've had rain. Lots and lots of rain. We've had wind. Lotsa wind. In recent days, I've cycled either in cold temperatures or hot temperatures. All things in moderation is a worthwhile concept but, in these here environs, "moderation" seems a quaint notion. The days swing between extremes, rarely pausing in any state remotely resembling moderation. So be it.
I'm slowly learning to accept Life as it comes.
The sky was overcast when I arrived at the preserve. The wind was brisk to say the least. The humidity was near 100%. While every cyclist hopes for ideal conditions, this cyclist...this day...didn't care. I wanted to ride and ride I did.
Several miles along the trail, it began to rain. A few sprinkles at first, then a drizzle as a prelude to a steady, gentle rain. I didn't mind. It was satisfying enough to keep pedaling, moving forward, traversing past groves of trees and wetlands and prairies. My eyeglasses were pretty much useless, coated with raindrops and completely fogged by the humidity. I pedaled in an out-of-focus dream state. I didn't mind. It seemed a good metaphor for my general state of mind.
I felt content. I felt blessed. A young doe crossed the trail ahead of me and that pleased me. A hawk flew past. Miles later, a heron glided by. I was in a happy dream state.
As rain dripped from my helmet, my arms and legs, and sprayed from my bicycle's tires, I slowly came to the realization that I had been deliberately steering my way through puddles. I made no effort to avoid them. Not at all. I rather enjoyed making splashes and ripples. And then it hit me: I was simply being a child again. This seventh decade denizen had enthusiastically reverted to that long-lost child who loved to splash about in puddles. And that, my friends, was a joyous realization.
So it was...on the day I turned to be sixty-four...I became a child of five again.
That pleases me more than I can express.
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