Taking stock

I knew I shouldn’t go, it wasn’t safe, but there I was in a storm out hiking again. The biggest risk was falling trees. High winds, rain shifting to snow or ice. Big limbs swaying, fallen trees across the trail. No one anywhere, just me and my boots and my beard. It’s times like these that really harden a man: like making bone broth or chicken stock, it takes a good thrashing to get the best flavor. And I guess that’s what I wanted out of life, the flavor.

There was the guy and his daughter we met on a coastal hike who said he camped there every Christmas. His name was Bill also, a bit strange. His daughter and mine were similar ages and went off to bond, leaving me and Bill alone on the beach. Divorced, and something off about him.

Isn’t it stormy as hell that time of year, I asked? And it was. I imagined his poor daughter suffering through, imagined the tent flapping around, the wet sand and rain, the beach consumed by crashing waves…but then!, the winds dying down…the look of the mist on the trees…an eagle crying…a crack of light at dusk…and I wanted to be on that beach myself, in winter! With my kids! They’d remember that much, at least. Have a good story to tell their kids someday.

The problem started with the awareness that the days were blurring together with little to set them apart. My dad called it a “slurry,” a mixture of concrete and gravel used for filling holes. I worried that I was falling into the beginnings of old age, that mid-life slump. And that brought me back to fantasies of snow camping, of slogging my way up an exposed ridge. Maybe hormone shots would be better I thought, and require less work to feel that flavor-feeling.

I took my fish oil pills and put in my mouth guard, plugged in my phone and said “goodnight.”



Categories: humor, Memoir, prose, writing

Tags: , , , , , ,

12 replies

  1. I once got stuck in that thunder storm out mountain biking. Tree branches were crashing down all around me. I wasn’t fighting old age, I was a stupid youth.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can see the attraction, that elemental setting, the drama and energy of it. But I’d also be scared stiff I’d become a headline on the news, one of those ones other people tut at – ‘well, that was a daft way to die’.
    I want to hear more about this odd man you meet, this other Bill who takes his kid camping at Christmas (bet she loves him for that!). Almost felt like the beginning of something very odd, as if you were meeting a parallel version of yourself.
    Great title, btw ๐Ÿ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good time of year for making (and taking) stock, right? Thanks for reading Lynn and nice to have a writer friend on LinkedIn, too! Enjoy the remains of the weekend, there.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Definitely a good time of year for both, these hunkered down days. And nice to see you on Linkedin too, though not sure it’s any use whatsoever so far as the scribbling is concerned. But hey, fun to send stuff out there. All the best, Bill

        Like

      • It is fun to send…I get vastly better views there too, for what itโ€™s worth.

        Like

  3. ‘like making bone broth..’ – perfect

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I find the older I get the wimpier I get. Thrashing branches and sideways rain sound like a good excuse to stay in. But as you say, the days (especially recently, with an extended battle with a cold) are turning into a slurry; a homogenized rut.

    Maybe I need a nice warm bowl of bone broth.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We all need a good buzz now and then, and I’ll bet that hike provided one. Our weather down here was so sedate compared to you guys up there, and it still managed to keep me indoors. Life does get pretty stale sometimes as we age, and I find that winter feels more punishing on these old bones every year. I’ve always turned up my nose at the idea of wintering in Arizona like so many folks around here do, but to be out hiking a red rock canyon about now would surely spice things up a little bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed, idea of getting out on a rock canyon is so refreshing. Dawn and I ferried over to Langley on Whidbey Island last night. Enjoying the respite of a quiet, foreign place. And the sound of the heater in this little VRBO bungalow! Life is good, wishing you warmth and comfort yourself Ilona! And happy new year, too…

      Liked by 1 person

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