Years pile atop years. As the count climbs higher, the mind and body change. Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful for the decades granted. I’ve been lucky to last this long, and I’m sure to appreciate however many more years may still come. Admittedly, I’ve wasted a few but, all in all, they’ve had a salutary effect...on my brain. I am truly grateful for the wisdom that can only come from years of experience. As for changes to the body, well, that’s a different story. Although I’m somewhat bemused by the proliferating “laugh lines” and silvered hairs, I would dispense with all the other changes to the body (post puberty) if I could.
* * *
My friends and I were loitering about. I heard a mewling. Funny isn’t it, how a plaintive cry can sound directionless? I tried my best to locate the creature connected to the cries. I searched high and low.
I peered betwixt tires and shrubs, behind tree trunks and beneath bumpers. This all took a while before Eureka
! A cat...crammed beneath a curbside storm water grate. Some black-hearted cretin had stuffed a scrawny cat beneath that heavy iron grill. I fished him out and called him “Sewer
Sewer was the funkiest feline that ever came to stay. He looked to be an implausible Abyssinian/orange tiger concoction with a body designed by El Greco. I mean this cat was ALL ears, snoot and legs...one elongated sinewy soul. Never saw anything like him before or since.
It took me only a day or two to discover that Sewer LOVED to fly. He lived for leaps to and from unbelievable heights. He would crash into me begging to be tossed high into the air. He would leap onto a screen door, hanging by his claws as I waggled the door with him plastered spread-eagle near the top. He could easily propel himself to the top edge of any open door, the tops of refrigerators, cabinets, shelves or any other improbable landing strip high above the ground where he would perch and bat at my hair as I wandered by. I rechristened him “Astro Cat
” for short). I’d never known such a daredevil. He would have absolutely loved bungee-jumping.
There came a day when I saw AC coiled on the kitchen floor, rump twitching, eyeing the refrigerator. This was nothing new. In fact, it was daily amusement for AC. He sprang. His front paws touched the top edge. His hind legs did not. He fell backwards, spinning as he crashed to ground. He landed perplexed...confused and shaken.
And he never tried to leap that high again. AC, the cat with cravings for the derring-do oozing from his pores had come to ground. Oh, he still gazed skyward, rump twitching, but he never launched himself into the stratosphere again.
* * *
I crouch beside my cobwebbed motorcycle. Rump twitching. I know I need to ride. I crave to be mesmerized by the white lines connecting the plains to the mountains and on towards the seas. It’s a gnawing hunger that must be satisfied. And here I stoop beside the machine that has carried me to so many places over countless miles and realize that it won’t carry me such distances ever again. The years have piled atop years and the body has changed. I simply know my once-Spartan carcass couldn’t take the pounding and the stress.
So now it begins. The search for a “proper” touring bike. One of those bulging behemoths that offer plush seating, robust shock absorbers, and a myriad of creature comforts that once evinced a measure of scorn in me. They’ve now become necessities.
My hunger must be sated, but I can’t feast on humble victuals. Soon enough, I will come to sit astride some plush ride, a bit embarrassed, a bit bemused, more than a wee bit humbled.
Things change. But the road still calls and I will answer.
Some things change. Some never do.
* * *